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


Just a minor coal mine...

Just a minor coal mine...

The Green Party is warning that Environment Waikato's decision not to allow any public input into its decisions on a massive increase in coal mining signals a dangerous exclusion of environmental issues from Government decisions.

Solid Energy, a state owned enterprise, has used the recent "limited notification" amendment to the Resource Management Act, forced through by Labour a few months ago with the support of United, to limit scrutiny of its expanded Rotowaro mine, near Huntly, to just 17 neighbouring landowners.

"The Greens fought tooth-and-nail against the RMA amendment," Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "We warned that the new notification procedure would make it much harder for people to find out what developments are being planned for their communities and to have a say in what happens. At the time, the Minister said it was for projects like minor extensions to buildings.

"But we always said it was inevitable that companies with no personal stake in the environment or local community would use 'limited notification' to secretly push through projects that they know would engender enormous opposition from people who do care about their surroundings.

"What is particularly disturbing about this case is how Environment Waikato could possibly designate a doubling of operations at the Huntly mine as having no more than 'minor effects' on the environment, allowing Solid Energy to qualify for limited notification.

"This meant that groups representing the public interest and the health of the environment, such as Forest and Bird and Greenpeace, were not allowed to make submissions at all.

"If the effects on the environment and the neighbourhood of a 225 hectare-wide, 100 metre-deep coal mine are 'minor', then what qualifies as a 'major' project?" Ms Fitzsimons asked. "The answer to that, we learned a few weeks ago, is going to be: whatever Jim Anderton decides is of 'national significance.'

"Not content with cutting communities and environmentalists out of 'minor' decision-making the Government is now planning to drive a tractor through the RMA by handing decisions on fast tracking 'Think Big' projects to Mr Anderton, further reducing public scrutiny.

"What will be left for the public to comment on? Only a few projects deemed to be "middle sized", or not favoured by the Government," said Ms Fitzsimons. "We are heading back to the pre-RMA days when big government projects were allowed to pre-empt democracy and the environment.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods (is the dollar up or down?) the outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country... More>>




Submissions Summary: The People's Commission On Public Media

This Summary is a preliminary report from the People’s Commission. It brings together views and aspirations of the hundreds of people who made submissions, attended public meetings, filled out the online survey and made speeches to our Panel. More>>

Housing Plans: Protest Over Ihumatao Development

Ihumatao in Mangere, next to the airport in Auckland, holds the archaeological remains of 1000 years of food production; from when Maori first landed in the area, through to early European settler agriculture and right up until today. More>>


Negotiations: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word.. More>>


Contains Highly Colloquial Language: Your F**king Guide To Government Formation

The following message is in no way endorsed by the Electoral Commission. They are f**king done with this election. More>>

NZ Emissions Up 50% 1990-2013: Report Confirms CLimate Change Impacting NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: Inland Revenue Steps Back From Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election