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Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job

Minister shouldn’t stop Fish and Game doing its job

It seems that Conservation Minister Nick Smith has again been caught out interfering to allow more pollution in our rivers, the Green Party said today.

Last year the Department of Conservation submission on the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was suppressed after a meeting between the Minister and senior Department of Conservation managers. Fish and Game has a statutory role under the Conservation Act to “advocate generally and in any statutory planning process”.

“Fish and Game is supposed to advocate for clean and healthy rivers, it’s the law,” Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“It is not good enough to have the Conservation Minister bully Fish and Game, a statutory body, for doing their job and threaten to change their legal powers.

“Under National the Department of Conservation’s statutory advocacy role has been much reduced, so it’s left to organisations like Fish and Game.”

Fish and Game’s advocacy resulted in the Government’s favoured approach to allowing more pollution in the Tukituki River, being ruled out in the Board of Inquiry decision on the Ruataniwha Dam. The 18 July meeting was the first Fish and Game Council meeting following the release of the final decision.

“Nick Smith suggesting changes to Fish and Game’s mandate at this meeting is suspicious,” said Ms Sage.

“The Government has put up funding for this dam project, and is now doing anything it can to force it through.

“Suppressing strong advocacy for water quality and protection of our rivers clearly shows the Government’s agenda is more pollution, not rivers clean enough for swimming.

“All of our rivers and lakes should be clean enough to swim in,” said Ms Sage.


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