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ECO Summit Condemns Roading, Fishing and RMA Plans

ECO Summit Condemns Roading, Fishing and RMA Plans

Pressure from the business lobby to amend the Resource Management Act in order to fast track decisions under the Act should be resisted by the government says the national annual environmental summit meeting near Christchurch this weekend.

The meeting of delegates of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ, ECO, from the far North to the deep south, represented the National Council of Women, Greenpeace, urban and rural environmental organisations and recreational and professional groups.

ECO Chairperson, Cath Wallace said intentions to change the Resource Management Act have alarmed the whole community. “We know that the “spin” is that it is all about “fine tuning” but this appears to be cover for such measures as allowing industry to substitute private codes of conduct for public rules, that people are to face far greater costs at council and Environment Court hearings, and that people will be denied their full set of rights that they now have. The new Minister, David Benson-Pope appears poorly advised by his officials on the concerns of the community.”

“It is essential that the Cabinet and the Minister agree to talk to ECO representatives as soon as possible because advice he is being given on the RMA is that of a section of the business community that sees environmental protection as a nuisance not a necessity.”

“The government should listen to the verdict of the people as discovered by the Growth and Innovation Office’s research: people do not want old fashioned “development” or “growth” strategies that sacrifice the environment, community, the future and our bequest to the future. They don’t want more overfishing, more concrete and congestion, pollution and damage to water and the seabed. People want to be listened to in their communities.

“The conference heard that the losses of fish stocks, with some down to less than 10% of the original unfished levels, would mean a triple loss: of future economic benefits, of jobs and irreplaceable animal communities of the sea. The Ministry of Fisheries was condemned as too close to the fishing industry and far too slow to even begin to consider environmental measures with still no commitment to restraining trawling.

“The Government received praise for its intention to introduce new environmental standards in other areas and for its recent declarations of the Patterson’s Inlet marine reserve. The government was urged to revive the Oceans Policy process and to get busy on the control of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.”

Ms Wallace said the Labour government’s and Green’s policies on nuclear free New Zealand was applauded. “Serious dismay was expressed at National and Act’s nuclear policies. Resolutions condemning any weakening of New Zealand’s nuclear free position in all dimensions including the visit of nuclear powered ships were passed unanimously.”

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