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Marina decision embarrassment for Labour

Hon Dr Nick Smith MP
National Party Conservation Spokesman

Sandra Goudie
MP for Coromandel

19 December 2006

Marina decision embarrassment for Labour

The Government’s backdown on the Whangamata Marina decision is a victory for Kiwi battlers who took on an arrogant Government and won, say National Conservation spokesman Nick Smith and Coromandel MP Sandra Goudie.

“This is an incredibly embarrassing backdown for Labour on one of the major controversies of the year,” says Dr Smith.

“Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Chris Carter both bagged the marina, but under scrutiny it has been found to be perfectly environmentally sound.

“The only reason this injustice has been corrected is because the Whangamata Marina Society had the courage and determination to challenge the Government in court, where Chris Carter was found to have broken the law.

“But even in announcing the decision, the Government’s cynicism continues.

“They have done it in the rush before Christmas, when Parliament is not sitting, in an effort to hide their U-turn. The reality is that Chris Carter got it dreadfully wrong and Helen Clark made an error in backing him.

“This decision fixes the problem for the society, but it does not fix the Resource Management Act. It is disgraceful that it took 13 years and $1.5 million.

“The Act must be fixed so community organisations do not have to go through this sort of process when trying to get a consent.

“National tried to fix the Whangamata problem and the law in November, but the vote in Parliament was drawn 60-60.

“A future National Government will remove the ministerial veto over Environment Court decisions to prevent this sort of fiasco in future,” Dr Smith says.

Mrs Goudie says Mick Kelly and the Whangamata Marina Society should be congratulated.

“Few people take on the Government and win. This is a victory for Kiwi battlers who took on an arrogant Government and won. They deserved an answer years ago.

“The Government should pay compensation to the society for the huge costs their political shenanigans have cost the Whangamata community.”

ENDS

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