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No shade of Green in Bluegreens

No shade of Green in Bluegreens

There's not much green about the National Party’s "Bluegreens" as they head into their conference this weekend, says Labour's Environment spokesperson Moana Mackey.

"Once upon a time the Bluegreens had credibility and clout within National and the broader environmental and conservation NGO sector. They were a forum for robust debate, challenging the parliamentary wing of the National Party, and other political parties, on critical sustainability issues.

"Now they must wonder where it all went so very wrong. The current National government has the worst environmental record in living memory.

"One of the very first acts of John Key’s government was to cut support for biofuels and the renewable electricity sectors. They gutted the emissions trading scheme and have stood idly by as a collapsed carbon price has devastated the carbon forestry sector.

"They were forced into an embarrassing back-down over their decision to allow mining in national parks but pushed ahead with changes that give mining activities an advantage over other economic activities, such as tourism ventures, on conservation land.

"They have slashed funding for the Department of Conservation and limited their advocacy role resulting in the inexplicable decision to not provide any critique of the highly controversial Ruataniwha dam scheme in the Hawke’s Bay.

"They have been enthusiastically talking up offshore oil and gas exploration whilst removing nearly all support for renewable alternatives. They have put in place extremely weak regulation for drilling in our Exclusive Economic Zone and shut communities out of having a say in the consenting process for exploratory drilling despite promising the process would be public. And they have taken away the democratic right to protest at sea.

"In a very telling move they voted against an amendment that would have made ‘environmental protection’ one of the purposes of the Environmental Protection Authority and they now plan to destroy the RMA.

"Any moves they have made whether it be on protection of Hector and Maui dolphins, marine reserves or shark finning have been just enough for a photo op but fall well short of the required action.

"Nick Smith and the other so-called Bluegreen MPs have a lot of explaining to do this weekend. What's clear is that while they talk a good game they are now more Blueblue than Bluegreen.”

Ends

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