The Forestry NES: Robert Guyton thumbs up, Nick Smith rotten

Congratulations to one of our regular commenters, Robert Guyton, on his election to Environment Southland last weekend.  I really hope Robert can make a difference in stopping the “Double Dipton” plan to double Southland’s dairy herd numbers, and stopping Gerry Brownlee’s Lignitemare.

I was pondering a post on Environment Minister Nick Smith’s proposed National Environment Standard on forestry.   Then I discovered Robert Guyton and James Henderson at The Standard had already said it all:

“The proposed NES for Forestry could more aptly be called the ‘let the farmers do what they want’ standard. Not only does it enable just about anything to do with harvesting plantation forest, it also makes any earthworks or quarrying within the rural environment a permitted activity (not subject to the resource consent process), except when it is in an area prone to erosion. This would mean all farmers can use the NES to bypass earthworks controls aimed at protecting landscapes and water quality, regardless of whether or not the earthworks or quarrying is for forestry purposes.”

James Henderson, writing for The Standard sounds the clarion for all councils and those people who value a truly clean, green environment and points the finger straight at Nick Smith. Most interesting is his description of the sneaky manner in which this NES was presented – ‘in between councils’ during the change-over period we are in now.

“Nick Smith knew that this wouldn’t go down well with Councils who regulate forestry activities with the aim of protecting water quality, biodiversity, and landscape values. So guess what, the consultation period for the new NES is during the local government elections recess period, i.e. the NES was proposed after Councils could formally consider it, and submissions close in mid October, before any new Councils have had their first meeting of the new triennium.”


I think it is rotten too, Robert and James.  Democracy requires better than Nick Smith releasing a document that will abrogate the rights of local authorities to make decisions on issues that are their core business at a time when the local authorities are lame ducks due to the local elections, and with the deadline for submissions being before the newly elected local authorities can even be properly constituted and meet, let alone consult with their constituents.

As Robert said, Rotten!!!

13 Comments Posted

  1. Robert: If you have any problems with the Nicks and Gerrys’just give me a call and Drakula will sink his fangs into them!!!!

  2. @The spectre of Nick, Gerry & Rortney 9:16 PM

    To the contrary. Stand up for what is right, Robert. If the Government responds in an anti-democratic manner, as they did with ECan, then so be it. It is their credibility that will suffer, not yours.

  3. An interesting element related to Robert’s journey to the council of Environment Southland was the demise of Stuart Collie the retiring Chair. Collie had a confused perception of his role and regularly wrote articles in the Southland Times openly supporting the mining of lignite and promoting the view that protecting the environment should not restrict farming profitability, farming came first! He was most concerned at Guy Salmond’s view that environmentalists and maori should be included on environment councils to balance the interests of farmers. Collie thought that anyone who hadn’t farmed had no place in making decisions regarding rural resources and openly criticized Robert and another candidate for being too biased in their views to make balanced decisions. After retiring from his role as ES chair Stuart Collie needed further employment and stood for the Invercargill City Council. I am hoping it was because of the many letters we wrote to public opinion questioning Collie’s flawed thinking because he was well out of the running and a first time candidate and ex waste buster was elected well ahead of him. All power to Robert and the local Greens!

  4. Congradulations Robert;

    I am glad that you have flashed your ‘Green ‘ light as before the election I have been advocating an up front style for local politics. Eg. If the labour Party wants to endorse a local boy/girl they could call it ‘Local Labour’.

    Then everybody will know where they stand.

    There are fellow members in the Greens who disagreed with me and you are proving me right.

    However we can’t expect such a modus-operandii coming from ACT can we their style is based on cunning and deceit ah la Machiavelli!

  5. Robert, the fact that you have been completely honest in your position on these issues is what honest democracy is all about.
    You have started the process with integrity that so many others lack and that gives you a strong mandate to continue to speak for the environment exactly as you have done.
    It is very refreshing to see a candidate honestly say: “here I am, wadaya think?”.

  6. Thanks Frog and Co.
    I’m pretty stoked to have made it thus far, given that I’ve not hidden my ‘green light’ under a bushel down here – people know what they are getting by voting me on to the Regional Council. I’ve made it clear through writing Opinion columns for the two Southland newspapers and any number of letters to the editor, what I think about Southland’s water, lignite, oil and milk issues.
    I was ‘encouraged’ to read in yesterdays editorial in the Times that:

    “”The election of Robert Guyton from Riverton to Environment Southland could also change the conservation dynamics on that regional authority.”

    Here’s hoping!

  7. Don’t stick your neck out too far Robert or you will be sacked and replaced by Government stooges just like ECan was.

  8. Toad.

    Maritime NZ have a road show going around the country with a proposal to make things cheaper for the offshore oil drilling industry. Current requirements for STCW/SOLAS certification for crews and the vessel on oil rig tenders may be relaxed to allow inshore qualifications up to the new within 200 miles of the coast “Near sheltered waters limit”. About the same as allowing someone with 200 hours in a Cessna to drive a jumbo jet.
    I.E. Off the East Coast or in the Great South Basin.

    Oil rig tenders are supposed to be the stand by vessels for rescue and firefighting for the rigs.

    STCW is the minimum requirement for international vessels. It is already compromised by ship owner interests. Attempts to relax requirements below this level are not going to increase the safety of offshore drilling.

    Especially in light of the Coastguard findings in the US that lack of knowledge of stability in ship and rig firefighting at the scene may have contributed to the Transocean rig sinking.

    I think this shows the Governments real level of commitment to environmental safety.

  9. Well done, Robert!

    Congratulation on your election – I’ve already offered them on your blog, but this is (at least for now) a wider audience.

    Go hard, Robert! I know how tough it must be to defend of ecological sustainability in Southland, given the Government’s faux vision that everyone will get really rich if they just allow lignite mining, uncontrolled dairy expansion and offshore oil drilling – oops, the last one on my list just crapped out bigtime yesterday, didn’t it?

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