Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Bulldozer Smith Blunders Yet Again

Labour MP for Whanganui Jill Pettis has called on Dr Nick Smith to apologise for misleading the media and the public over his actions on the Ruapehu lahar threat when he was Minister of Conservation in 1999.

Dr Smith has claimed that he did not make a decision on the lahar issue because the final report on the lahar risk was not provided to the Government until June 2000 long after he had surrendered his ministerial warrant. (Wanganui Chronicle 20 June 2001).

Mrs Pettis said that Dr Smith was suffering from a very bad dose of political amnesia.

"I can understand why he wants to divert public scrutiny from his indecisiveness on this matter when he was Minister of Conservation but the record is clear. Nick Smith received a comprehensive briefing from the Department of Conservation along with the final Assessment of Environmental Effects in the first week of August 1999."

"At that time the general election was four months away and he had ample time to make decisions on the actions he wanted taken in response to the lahar threat."

"The Environmental Assessment was published in April 1999 but not publicly released by Nick Smith when he was Minister. It had to wait until Sandra Lee took office and released the report along with her decisions on how DoC was to respond to the lahar threat in May 2000."

Mrs Pettis said that if Nick Smith had wanted to advance the bulldozing of the crater rim of Ruapehu he could have made decisions to this effect in the second half of 1999 when he was still a minister.

"Instead he kept the reports secret and sat on his hands. He preferred to kick for touch, seemingly hoping that the impending election defeat of the National administration would get him out of the hot seat."

Mrs Pettis said that the report on the lahar that was produced in June 2000 was an independent review of the Environmental Assessment commissioned by Sandra Lee in May 2000.

"Dr Smith is being extremely disingenuous, to be polite, in now claiming he couldn't make a decision on the lahar threat when he was Minister because he was waiting for a report that he hadn't asked for and nor had anyone else at the time."

"Nick Smith is trying hard in opposition to give the impression he is bold and decisive but instead he is becoming notorious for his monumental blunders. As a minister it is clear he was weak and indecisive."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Taxing Capital Gains: Tax Working Group Delivers Final Report

Group Chair Sir Michael Cullen says our system has many strengths but there is a clear weakness caused by our inconsistent treatment of capital gains.

“New Zealanders earning just salary and wages are taxed on their full income but we have several situations where you can earn income from gains on assets and not be taxed at all.

“All members of the Group agree that more income from capital gains should be taxed from the sale of residential rental properties. The majority of us on the Group, by a margin of 8-3, support going further and broadening that approach to include all land and buildings, business assets, intangible property and shares.” More>>


89 Cents An Hour: Govt Plans Fix For Minimum Wage For People With Disabilities

IHC is delighted that the Government is looking into replacing the Minimum Wage Exemption (MWE) with a wage supplement to ensure people with disabilities are paid at least the minimum wage. More>>


Auckland Action Against Poverty: Motels Profit From Housing Crisis

A single motel which charges up to $1,500 per week per room has received over $3 million worth of Government funds to provide emergency assistance, despite never having a Code Compliance Certificate – an offence under the Building Act – and receiving a series of longstanding complaints from occupants... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Alleged China Relations Crisis

If New Zealand’s relations with China are ‘deteriorating’ then you still need a microscope to detect the signs... More>>


Environment: Government To End Tenure Review

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage. More>>


Bell Tolls: Big Changes, Grand Mergers Planned For Vocational Training

“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke... More>>


Sallies' State Of The Nation: Progress Stalled In Reducing Inequality

The report shows a lack of tangible progress in key areas including record levels of household debt and a growing gap in educational achievement between poorer and more well off communities. More>>


Party Politics In Tax Morale Survey: SSC To Seek Answers From IRD

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins has today asked the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes to examine IRD’s reported inappropriate use of a public survey. More>>





InfoPages News Channels