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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

PM's Presser: ‘Precarious’ Solid Energy In Banks’ Hands

Liquidation of state-owned coal company Solid Energy “cannot be ruled out” but is “not the number one preferred option of the government,” says Prime Minister John Key, who confirmed the beleaguered company was discussed today at Cabinet as its banking syndicate grapples with its commercially dire prospects. More>>

ALSO:

Missed Opportunities: Amnesty International Report Card On NZ's UN Role

As New Zealand steps down from its month as President of the Council, Amnesty International has taken the opportunity to review New Zealand’s role on the Council so far and assess their performance and contribution to protecting human rights worldwide. More>>

ALSO:

Prince Charles Get More Jobs: PM Announces Honorary Military Appointments

PM John Key has announced that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of HRH The Prince of Wales to three honorary positions: Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy; Field Marshal, New Zealand Army; Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. More>>

ALSO:

No TPP Deal: Gordon Campbell On Why We Should Still Oppose Investor-State Dispute Measures

Even in this dark hour for the TPP, the secrecy farce continues... What is left to hide? Every single negotiator went into those talks in Maui knowing exactly where everyone else stood. More>>

REACTION:

Salvation Army On Homelessness: Hard Times In West Auckland

The report details an uncomfortable story of people whose only option is to live an unhealthy, dangerous and damaging street life... The social housing needed by these people is not currently available in sufficient quantity. More social housing is required in the West. More>>

ALSO:

Message For PM: NZ Supports Te Reo Māori – You Should Too

As Māori Language Week celebrations and commemoration of 40 years draws to an end, the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, is once again hugely encouraged by the widespread support for Māori language from throughout the country ... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news