Dozy bulls bear down on Auckland

Aucklanders are getting a raw deal when they try to oppose NACTs propose changes proposed to environmental protection laws as reported in Granny Herald today.

The problem, say interested groups, is no one contacted them to let them know when or where the hearings were to be held, or when their submissions were scheduled to be heard.

Some groups missed their opportunity because of the lack of notice, and the committee has promised to hold tele-conferences so they can put their views.

The groups also claim that up to eight unrelated groups have been required to share one 20-minute slot.

Russel is a member of the Local Government and Environment Committee that heard submissions on the Resource Management Act (RMA) reform bill in Auckland this week. He’s trying to get community groups a fair deal but it’s an uphill battle.

The select committee has been deluged with over 1000 submissions because lots of Kiwis are concerned about the proposed changes; councils say it will cost millions to make changes while community groups say it will cost them their voice.

But the select committee sails blithely on.

The Government’s indecent and undemocratic haste is a taste of things to come; NACT seems intent on bulldozing environmental protection laws which will make it easier for the bulldozers to rip through communities and wild places.

Bulldozer has two parts; bull and dozy which sums up their approach nicely.

The Green Party was the only Party to vote against the RMA reform Bill at First Reading: the only Party with the foresight to see that it is an attack on democracy and the environment.

With that in mind, what will Auckland City Councillor and Eden Albert Community Board member Glenda Fryer say to local residents if she wins the race to be the Labour candidate for the Mt Albert by-election?

The Eden Albert Community Board submission firmly opposes the removal of tree protection rules, reduced notification, removal of the non-complying category, and the reduction in rights to have a say through reinstating a court bond (security for costs) and restricting appeal rights. 

Labour, meanwhile, assisted the NACT bulldozer when they voted for the Bill at First Reading. However, maybe they’ve now seen the light?

11 Comments Posted

  1. BluePeter, the Greens were as unhappy about the process (and the dog’s breakfast that came out of it) re the EFA as anyone. Just because we supported the principle of it doesn’t mean we supported the process or the outcome.

  2. jarbury
    seems you are not so good at written argument then. I believe it was Bill Birch who advised a new parliamentarian that the ability to sleep, with open eyes, through oral argument in select committee was one of the most urgent and important skills a new member should acquire. When asked why, he responded “the orator usually starts well, but has no structure to their speech and so repeats themselves a lot. As members on the orator’s “side” ask questions, the orator becomes more encouraged and expansive. Hence time is lost to make political points through repetition. On the other hand, most written submissions are relatively lucid, well structured and lacking in rhetoric”.

    I always though Sir Bill a canny man.

  3. Strings, at the hearing you do NOT just read out what you’ve written. The main point is to quickly cover the points of your submission and then for the committee members to ask you a number of questions.

    I have done this for resource consent hearings on many occasions and it is a VERY valuable process. Often it is the questions part which leads to the most significant outcomes.

  4. “To that we say…


    Except you’ve already said that about the Bills rushed through before Christmas.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right either.

  5. >>abrogation of democratic process….I’m confident everyone would get their say, and have their opinions heard and considered

    To that we say…


  6. Last time I looked it wasn’t a political party that advised people who requested time for an oral submission when submitting a written one, it was the Office of the Clerk – Select Committee Office.

    One requirement is that you do have to specifically state that you want to present in person. I must say though that doing both the written and oral thing seems a bit superfluous to me. Why should an MP have to read and listen to the same thing?

  7. lolz, I’ve been offered a possible 5 min slot for my first ever oral submission in the Wellington leg of this circus – I may need some support from the frogpond, as I seem to have mislaid the documents I used to write the submission the day before I left on my recent jaunt to Auckland …

    frogs haz compassion for hippy activists? 🙂

  8. This is starting to look like the undemocratic shambles that occurred over Select Committee hearings on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. Metiria Turei blogged about that (pre-frogblog) here on the main Green site.

    It seems that it doesn’t matter whether Labour or National lead the Government – undemocratic processes that exclude people from being heard and having their views considered come into play when a Government introduces legislation that attracts lots of opposing submissions. The only credit to National on this one is that, unlike their 90 day Fire@Will.Bill, they have at least allowed submissions, even if they don’t consider them. The process over that Bill was a travesty of the worst sort.

    Anyway, I’m pleased Russel is standing for Mt Albert and hope he gets elected. We need to put a stop to the Lab/Nat abrogation of democratic process. Under a Green-led government, which is what I want to see sometime soon, I’m confident everyone would get their say, and have their opinions heard and considered. It might be a bit slower, but it is far more inclusive.

    And Russel’s Mt Albert candidacy could help break the grip that the two tired and undemocratic old grey parties have had over the past 60 years on leading a government.

  9. Yeah I was damn annoyed about this! Glad that these concerns are getting shared around.

    There is some good news though:

    Committee clerk Pavan Sharma admits there was one instance of eight people having to share a 20-minute slot but says it was because they all submitted similar scheduling requests.

    He says it is not too late for people who made submissions to make a case to the committee. “We will be contacting the people who missed out to arrange teleconferences.”

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