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


Chapter 13 - Public still in the dark

13 February 2008

Chapter 13 - Public still in the dark

Trevor Mallard's strident - yet nonsensical - statements in the House this afternoon have left the Green Party with more questions than answers.

Mr Mallard told the media on Monday that Chapter 13 of the State of the Environment report was dumped because it made a series of conclusions that were not supported by the facts.

"Naturally, The Greens were very interested to hear which conclusions he identified," Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The question we put to the Minister for the Environment in the House was a simple one.

"Does he agree with Chapter 13, dumped from the State of the Environment report, that "significant intensification of land use, particularly pastoral land use" is "arguably the largest pressure today on New Zealand's land, freshwaters and coastal oceans, and atmosphere"; if not, what does he believe is the largest pressure on New Zealand's land, freshwaters and coastal oceans, and atmosphere?"

"Mr Mallard was quick to point out that both he and his officials have spoken at length about "the damning facts...which clearly show this is the case." He also pointed me to his own comments in the foreword of the report, "highlighting the decline in water quality in New Zealand as a consequence of the increasing intensity of agricultural production."

"When asked to explain which of the conclusions were so unsupported by the facts as to justify slashing the final chapter, Mr Mallard answered, "That is the very area, because it is forward looking, rather than backward looking, as the report is, that was outside the scope and actually not matched by the facts in the report."

"Pressed even further, he confirmed that, "It's the conclusion that the member was referring to in her question." So, the Minister is saying both that the statement in my questions is what he has been saying all along, but also that it is a conclusion not supported by the facts.

"The Government has had all day to come up with a straight answer. They damned Chapter 13 as containing comments that were not backed up by facts. Then they damned it because the conclusions that it draws are apparently already repeated throughout the report.

"It's obvious that Mr Mallard is walking an incredibly fine line, desperately trying to avoid angering the farming lobby. The pressure is telling, as his answers in the house today were utterly nonsensical.

"All of this gobble-de-gook, evasion and confusion can only lead people to the conclusion that the real reason the report was dropped was political," Ms Fitzsimons says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election