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

 


Dunne Speaks for this week

Dunne Speaks for this week

31 July 2014

This week’s stoush over the Fish and Game Council points to a deeper challenge confronting the Government as it contemplates a third term in office.

There is no doubt of this Government’s commitment to boosting economic development, but that is increasingly running up against the dual brick walls of environmental law and mounting public anxiety about environmental values being traded off for economic advantage.

Last year’s skirmish over the Resource Management Act should have been a salutary lesson. Remember the hype of the National Party’s Conference announcement then of a bold, new housing plan, based on streamlining the principles and operation of the Resource Management Act, to speed up development. It ran into immediate difficulties when the Government discovered that while there was near universal support for improving the processes of the Resource Management Act, neither UnitedFuture nor the Māori Party would support any changes to, or weakening of its principles. Curiously, rather than compromise, and proceed with those areas where it could get support, the Government adopted an “all or nothing” approach and quietly shelved its plans for another day.

That pattern has continued in other areas over recent months. Independent Boards of Inquiry reports have dealt crippling if not fatal blows to the Ruataniwha Dam in Hawkes Bay and the flyover around Wellington’s Basin Reserve. A clear picture is emerging: the trade-off between big projects and the environment is erring increasingly on the side of the environment, leaving the Government’s plans to streamline environmental law looking more and more out of step with public expectation.

It is against this backdrop that the role of a statutory body like Fish and Game assumes fresh significance. In pursuit of its mandate, Fish and Game has been taking an increasingly strident line against issues which impinge on deteriorating water quality in our lakes and rivers. The most obvious of these practices is dairy intensification, which brings the debate strongly back to the Government’s economic development agenda and explains its obvious sensitivity on the matter.

But here is where a reality check is needed. Recent developments make it clear public tolerance for the “environment is nice, but the economy is nicer” argument is evaporating and pressure will mount for a stronger line to be drawn in the future. Ironically, the one thing stopping that from happening more suddenly and starkly is the Green Party, whose zealotry and intolerance on those issues scares off many voters who might otherwise be sympathetic to the cause.

What did or did not go on between the Conservation Minister and the people at the Fish and Game meeting is really just fish and chip paper.

Far more important is the challenge to National to understand that while there is general support for its commitment to economic development and boosting living standards – as the polls strongly show – that support is conditioned by a strong sense of environmental protectionism. Striking the right balance is not something National has yet shown itself to have a clear grasp upon.

That is where support parties like UnitedFuture, who do understand the limits and constraints, have an important role to play in the next Government to ensure we have progress, matched by environmental responsibility and sustainability.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Professor Ian Shirley: The Budget That Failed Auckland

The 2016 budget offered Auckland nothing in the way of vision or hope and it continued the National Government’s threats against the Auckland Council. Threatening the Council with over-riding its democratic processes if it fails to release land for housing is a bullying tactic aimed at diverting attention away from the fundamental problems with housing in the region. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post Cab Presser: Budgets, Trusts And Pacific Diplomacy

Today Prime Minister John Key summarised last week’s budget and provided further detail about his upcoming trip to Fiji. He said that there has been “plenty going on” in the last couple of weeks and emphasised the need for Auckland council to facilitate more housing supply. More>>

ALSO:

Max Rashbrooke: A Failure Of Measurement: Inside The Budget Lock-Up

Shortly after the embargo lifted at 2pm news organisations started filing reports claiming that health, and to a lesser extent housing and education, were the ‘big winners’ out of the Budget. It failed to take into account the fact that in most cases the apparent increases were in fact cuts. Because of the twin effects of inflation and population. More>>

ALSO:

DOCtored Figures: Minister Clarifies DOC Budget

“Commentators have overlooked the fact $20.7m of that perceived shortfall is new funding for Battle for our Birds 2016, provided for in last week’s Budget...” DOC also has approval in principle to carry over a further $20m to 16/17 due to unexpected delays in a number of projects. More>>

ALSO:

For The Birds: Gordon Campbell On The Budget

Budgies, so their Wikipedia page says, are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, and ability to mimic human speech. Which is a reasonably good description of Finance Minister Bill English eighth Budget. . More>>

Max Rashbrooke On The 2016 Budget

The best label for this year’s announcement by Bill English might be the ‘Bare Minimum Budget’. It does the bare minimum to defuse potential political damage in a range of areas – homelessness and health are prime among them – but almost nothing to address the country’s most deep-rooted, systemic social problems. Indeed the Budget hints that these problems may get worse. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news