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

Snowden Documents: Show New Zealand Spies On Its Pacific Friends And Sends Data To US

NZ Herald link: New Zealand's spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country's closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden. More>>

ALSO:

The Intercept: NZ Spies On Neighbors In Secret 'Five Eyes' Global Surveillance
[The GCSB] has been sweeping up the data from across the Asia-Pacific region, targeting island nations such as Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga and France’s overseas territories New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Each of these small nations and territories maintains friendly relations with New Zealand. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news