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


Govt Must Come Clean on Waitaki Water Plans

Greens urge Govt to come clean on Waitaki water plans

The Government needs to come clean on what it is planning for the Waitaki River and particularly Project Aqua, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today that the Government is consulting interested parties on a possible new process for deciding resource consent applications for Waitaki water. "Everyone knows this is about Project Aqua," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The most likely outcome is the Minister using her power to 'call in' the project, under the Resource Management Act (RMA). This means the Minister becomes the consent authority - rather than the local or district councils. This raises hard questions about the Government's priorities," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The fact that Project Aqua is so vast, has so many potential impacts, and requires so many consents ought to be a reason for questioning the wisdom of the project altogether, but it is not necessarily a reason to 'call in' the project.

"If the Minister is considering call-in, she needs to explain why she is prepared to call in Project Aqua, but not the several recent applications for new thermal power stations. The Minister rejected calls from the Greens to exercise her call-in powers on these stations, despite their Greenhouse emissions being a matter of national and international rather than solely local policy.

"While the Waitaki braided river system is a unique national asset, there is yet to be any suggestion that local authorities are not competent to assess Project Aqua.

"The Government has already given Meridian Energy 'requiring authority' status, which enables it to publicly acquire land and override district plans. The Government now appears to be looking at further means of fast-tracking Project Aqua. The Minister can and should encourage local authorities to work together," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The Government's announcement today is also worryingly vague. It could even be seen as hinting at special legislation to push Project Aqua through, which would put the Government up there with Bill Birch in terms of fast-tracking energy projects. This must be ruled out immediately.

"Everybody wants to see a process for water allocation which is better than the first-come, first-served process used at present. The bottom line for water allocation must be the survival of the ecosystems in the Waitaki River, and the available drinkable water supplies, not fast-tracking huge energy projects," Ms Fitzsimons said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them.

Finally, yesterday’s announcement by the Ardern government that a new state agency will be set up to assess and plan the manned re-entry to the mine (on a set timetable) goes a long way to meeting the families’ remaining request: that they be enabled, if at all possible, to bury their loved ones. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election