Democracy getting Nick-ed

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP

Our water and our land are under threat, with the same Minister in charge.

Our water ways have had the bar lowered to make ‘fouled by animals' and ‘full of germs' the new ‘swimmable'.

Our drinkable water is being given away, for foreign consumers to enjoy, while the exporters only have to make sure their local rates bill is paid. This blue government describes charging them for the privilege as “too hard” or “farcical”, depending on whether it's the current Prime Minister, or the Environment Minister speaking.

And now this same Environment Minister, Dr Nick Smith is calling concerns over Resource Management Act reform “nonsense”.

So let's look at the so-called “nonsense” to see if we should be concerned.

The submission period for New Zealanders to share their concerns and have their voices heard, closed last year in March 2016. But now, in 2017 we have the Minister slipping in changes to require agreement from local iwi and hapu that will have far-reaching consequences for local Authorities. Where is the transparent democracy in this kind of underhanded manoeuvring?

Effectively iwi and hapu could have a veto on regional development. The legislation requires “agreement” but with no clarification on what “agreement” looks like, nor how it is supposed to be reached.

And while there might be 5 or 10 or 20 iwi in a region, there are potentially hundreds of hapu, which would mean hundreds of unelected groups capable of slowing down the consent process as they see fit. And wasn't making the process more efficient the whole point of the reforms?

New Zealand First has offered our 12 votes for comprehensive RMA reform time and again, as long as the changes were good for all New Zealanders. But the two race-based party votes seem to be worth more to the Minister and this blue government, no matter the long-term cost to democracy.

They may have sneaked it over the line before the election, but New Zealand First will repeal it and fix it properly when we are in government.




Posted on 04-05-2017 13:56 | By Anbob

The whole local and national political landscape has been changed by National and stealth during their time at the helm, to the detriment of democracy. Looking forward to September. I will be interested to see if NZF stick to their promise of repealing the RMA amendments, as a condition of supply support.

Its amazing

Posted on 21-04-2017 16:27 | By Fonzie

How this has been snuck through with barely a peep from those who should be concerned with the wellbeing of our country . It remains to be seen whether the general population will ever wake up to whats going on By the time they do it will be too late

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