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PM and Conservation Minister avoid big issues

PM and Conservation Minister avoid big issues and go for photo ops


National has demonstrated how out of touch it is with key conservation issues in New Zealand, particularly the issues facing our marine environment, Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.

“The announcements from the Bluegreens conference about new marine legislation and marine protection in Kaikoura are examples of the National Party picking low hanging fruit for a photo op rather than tackling the hard issues.

“Conservation Minister Nick Smith has been a big disappointment since taking over from Kate Wilkinson. Many conservation-minded people had high expectations of some real action. We have seen the reverse.

“The Minister's interference in the legitimate advocacy role of DOC saw their major concerns about the Ruataniwha dam withdrawn. If this proposal is approved, there is a scientifically backed concern that the Tukituki River will turn toxic because of high nitrate levels - and all to give 120 farmers more water at huge taxpayer and ratepayer cost.

“The Minister has also been shamefully weak on the issue of protecting the critically endangered Maui's dolphins, a scenario that could result in the extinction of the species.

“As one petitioner said to the Local Government and Environment Committee this week, the solutions are easily available for Government to save the dolphins and secure a strong and sustainable fishing industry.

“But even that’s too hard for National. Instead, they have made a series of announcements solely designed to make them look good but which have little impact on the declining state of our marine environment.

“It is cynical and out of touch politics.”

Ends

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