National shuts the public out, puts Public Conservation Land, threatened species and habitats, natural heritage and the most intrinsically valuable attributes of Aotearoa New Zealand at extreme risk.
Before the end of the first month of 2024, the National Government has outlined how they will completely shut the public, including environmental groups, out of decision making on all projects and developments that are considered to be locally, regionally or nationally significant.
We were deeply disappointed to read more detail of the Governments plan to freeze NZers out of being part of decisions about major developments,a move that not only undermines our basic democracy, but also the process that has increasingly allowed decisions to be more informed, more considered, decisions that are more robust having come from allowing proposals to be interrogated and considered by a wide range of people. What is being proposed is not just a step backward – it is a giant leap.
This is an assault on our democracy, on our rights and on the aspirations we have as a community, as a country, to retain our most special places, our unique flora and fauna and to have any meaningful movement on addressing our climate impacts.
Back in 2010, the then National Government announced plans to open NZs National Parks and other Public Conservation Land for mining – the huge outcry in response to this outdated, greed driven proposal saw them back down.
Now some 14 years on, this National Government are far more aggressive – either ignorant of 2010 or so disrespectful of the values that Kiwis have around the environment – especially the remaining wildspaces, that they are prepared to use their majority to push through legislation that will take our countries environmental standards back to the 1970’s – or actually, worse than!
They further propose to restrict the ability of those who do have a say (an ‘expert panel’) to decline a proposal, actually enshrining that specific part – that that Panels ability to decline will be restricted! This approach is unbelievable – to freeze out everyone, community groups, interest groups, individuals, Local Government (!) and basically everyone who might know anything about an area, a habitat, a species, a community out of decisions that will affect them – and future generations!
And where is Te Tiriti o Waitangi in all this – where is the continuation of progress toward honouring what has been so badly breached, particularly by ongoing development, extractive industry and all the associated destruction of the natural environment? Nowhere to be seen, a minor reference to the Treaty of Waitangi. Another huge step backward.
It is staggering that a Government, made up of 3 parties who collectively represent just 63% of those who voted believes that they have in any way the mandate to make such huge and dangerous changes to the basic democratic right of kiwis to participate in decisions that affect them, or indeed the environment the vast majority of us value, appreciate and are extremely proud (and protective) of!
To read the letter that Bishop has circulated, click here ..