Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Govt Deliberately Denies Justice To Save Money

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-WESTCO-LAGAN

GOVERNMENT DELIBERATELY DENIES JUSTICE TO SAVE MONEY -SAYS WESTCO LAGAN

Forestry Minister Pete Hodgson has deliberately ignored the judgement of the High Court and the Appeal Court and distorted the status of the West Coast Accord in denying just compensation to parties which will lose valuable property rights following the abolition of the Accord.

A spokesman for the Minister said the Crown does not accept that the Accord confers property rights on the nation's main rimu miller, Westco Lagan, or any other miller.

Yet in 1995 the Accord was found to be a legally binding contract by Justice Greig in the High Court. Westco Lagan was a party to the litigation. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 1996, except for the Buller overcut.

It was also made clear that Westco Lagan, as a member of the West Coast Timber Association, has the standing to sue to enforce the Accord.

The company advised the Local Government and Environment Select Committee last week that the loss of its rimu contract, through the operation of its force majeur clause, would cost it around $14 million.

The Government is closing off the company's only avenue for compensation by abolishing the Accord, which guarantees a supply of sustainably harvested rimu in perpetuity. The Government's action means Westco Lagan cannot sue for damages lost profits.

"The Government is riding roughshod over our rights to fair treatment", said Westco Lagan director Grant Carruthers. "It is deliberately ignoring the judgment of the highest court in the land to avoid paying compensation for taking away our property rights.

"The Accord is a legally binding agreement, and Forestry Minister Hodgson knows it. We are angry that he is distorting its status to avoid the Crown's responsibility.

"We have tried hard to get a constructive dialogue going with the Minister, but it is clear that the Government is not interested in the legal rights of businesses or individuals. It seems that it is now OK for the Government to take away your property rights and ignore the parlous economic and financial consequences such action creates for businesses earning an honest dollar."

Apart from simply ignoring the Court of Appeal's judgment, the other reason the Minister's spokesman gave for not paying compensation was to minimise the risk of legal action against the government.

"So it seems the Government's financial interests prevail against those of its citizens and the principles of fair play and decent treatment," Mr Carruthers said.

"As the country's main miller of rimu, we've been effectively singled out by the Forests (West Coast Accord) Bill. The Government has used the law - and specifically the `Westco Lagan' clause denying compensation - to attack our interests."

Mr Carruthers pointed to recent comments from Canterbury law professor Philip Joseph, among other lawyers, who said that extinguishing contractual property rights by legislation was the same as the state taking private land. Under common law and statute, the general principle is that the state should pay when it compulsorily takes private property for public purposes.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Compensating Afghan Civilian Casualties

Reportedly, there have been nine incidents resulting in 17 civilian deaths and injuries (seven of the dead were children) caused by ordnance left behind on what used to be the firing range of our Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamiyan province.

Given that the NZ Defence Force has needed to be hauled kicking and screaming into belatedly arranging an adequate clean-up of its old firing range… what would it take before New Zealand offers to pay compensation to the families of those who suffered death and injury from what was left behind on our watch? More>>

 

Fossil Fuel Investment: ACC Must Lead On Climate Change

As the largest publicly owned investor in New Zealand, the ACC board should divest from fossil fuels, demonstrating our leadership role on climate change, Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick said today. More>>

ALSO:

Total Officers, Up Less: Coalition's 1800 New Police Officers

The Coalition commitment to add 1800 new Police officers to frontline policing has been achieved with the graduation of 59 constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. More>>

ALSO:

Predator Free: $3.5m For New Pest Controls

New Zealand First is proud to announce the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use. More>>

ALSO:

Children's Day: Commissioner Calls For Govt Commitment

“Three decades on, we are able to celebrate some significant changes for children like the recent launch of a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. But we still have a long way to go to prioritise children’s rights.” More>>

ALSO:

Elections: Proposed Electorate Boundaries Released

The Representation Commission is proposing changes to half of New Zealand’s electorates and establishing a new electorate in south Auckland… More>>

ALSO:

"Effectively A Permanent Amnesty": Final Month For Gun Ban Compensation

The firearms buy-back comes to an end a month from today, but the police say the amnesty for returning banned guns will continue into next year and beyond. More>>

ALSO:


SPECIAL GUNS FOR FOREIGN SECURITY:


MORE ARMED POLICE:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels