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!!!