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Say Hello To NZ’s Most Anti-environment Government In Decades

The Government is giving big industry a free pass to bulldoze New Zealand’s precious native wildlife.

“This is one of the most significant assaults on the environment undertaken by any government in my lifetime,” says the Green Party’s co-leader, James Shaw.

“Ministers are handing themselves extraordinary powers to approve projects that could include new coal mines, mining on parts of our precious conservation estate, and the destruction of the seabed.

“Our understanding is that this could even include projects previously rejected by the Environment Court on the basis that they were far too harmful to have any place in Aotearoa.

“In its announcement today, the government was too afraid to confirm exactly which projects will be approved in the primary legislation.

“We might not even get the list of projects to be included until after the Select Committee has already completed hearings.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a shadowy, anti-democratic way of fast-tracking projects that will increase climate pollution and trash our environment.

“There is serious concern that the government is basically putting the future of our natural world at the mercy of party donors and powerful industry lobbyists.

“Let’s be clear: this is not about considering things quickly - existing streamlined processes already allow for that. The only logic here is in allowing industries like oil and gas to make money from destroying the natural world we depend upon for our very survival.

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“We have not seen anything like this in New Zealand for five decades. Today’s announcement shows this government for what it is: this the single most anti-environment government we have seen.

“Environmental laws will be ignored and public input sidelined. This brazenly anti-democratic disregard for environmental protection should have no place in Aotearoa.

“Rather than relying purely on the discretion of a Minister, we must ensure that expert advice and the views of affected communities are a significant part of the decision-making process

“And so, to any companies thinking of taking advantage of a fast track process that bypasses normal Parliamentary process and scrutiny, Iwi consultation and engagement, expert environmental tribunals, local authorities and/or the courts, let me be clear: you should be aware that your project may be exposed to that scrutiny next time there is a change of Government, which could include loss of the consent, possibly without compensation,” says James Shaw.

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