New marine protection proposals short change our oceans

ocean

The National Government’s proposed overhaul of the Marine Reserves Act 1971 falls well short of what is needed to promote sustainable oceans and fisheries management. New Zealand’s geological history and long geographic isolation means we have an incredibly diverse marine environment with different habitats ranging from subtropical regions such as the Kermadec Islands to the […]

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Marching for our climate

Climate March NZ 2015

Being part of the People’s Climate March in Otautahi/Christchurch on Saturday felt like being part of something special, and something quite remarkable because we were part of the world’s largest climate mobilisation involving more than 600,000 citizens. Around 3,000 people gathered beneath the trees and on the grass in Christchurch’s Victoria Square just as thousands […]

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Fonterra is waking up to the risks of unsustainable dairy feed

It was good news to hear recently that Fonterra has begun to recognise the potential brand damage from dairy farmers moving away from grass-based milk production to rely on unsustainable supplementary feeds such as Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE). Fonterra are establishing and issuing voluntary  guidelines about PKE for farmers to maintain the competitive advantage that […]

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Environment misses out under National’s science investment strategy

Environmental research continues to be the poor cousin in the Government’s National Science Investment Strategy (NSIS) receiving the least of the five major science sectors in 2014 with no commitment to increase future funding for the sector; in contrast with all the other major research sectors. The NSIS promises increased spending on research in manufacturing, […]

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Public want regional democracy in Canterbury – Govt decides otherwise

Last week the National Government announced it won’t restore regional democracy in Canterbury until 2019. Instead it’s imposing a bizarre hybrid model of seven elected and six Government appointed members from 2016-2019.   This will allow Ministers in the Beehive to continue to dominate the regional council, and influence water management that promotes irrigation and intensive […]

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Harbour infilling being fast tracked in Lyttelton

In Auckland there was a justifiable public uproar about the Auckland Port Company’s plans to extend Bledisloe Wharf and occupy valuable parts of the Waitemata. Auckland Council intervened to scale back the proposal. Meanwhile, in democracy deprived Canterbury, the Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) wants to fill in 27 hectares of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour – that’s the […]

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Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch

The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the people said. Hundreds came and people were still wanting to speak two hours later when […]

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The high costs of weak environmental regulation

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment. At times toxic algal blooms make it unsafe to swim in and a danger to […]

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Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it is being unduly restrictive by limiting submissions on the Long Term Plan to the traditional […]

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Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders

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The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day on 21 May. The book authored by Marie Brown, Theo Stephens, Raewyn Peart and Bevis […]

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The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird

A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant bird. This indignation, according to the NZ Herald, was due to them interrupting the bird’s sleep but […]

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Urgent end to commercial fishing of longfin eel needed

US based illustrator and artist Stephanie Bowman and Massey University ecologist Dr Mike Joy presented to Parliament’s Primary Production select committee today in support of Stephanie and Maanaki Tuna’s petition signed by more than 6,000 people to protect the threatened longfin eel. As Stephanie told the committee, “I know that many commercial interests would tell […]

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National restarts logging in West Coast forests

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The chainsaws stopped in native forest on public land in 1999 after a strong campaign by non-governmental organisations such as Forest and Bird and Native Forest Action (NFA), supported by the Green Party. Immediately after the 1999 election, the incoming Labour Government directed SOE and government forestry company, Timberlands West Coast Ltd to end its […]

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Councils need to better protect our drinking water

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to the proposed Land and Water Plan and I popped along to listen. Variation 1 covers […]

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Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for Fresh Water: New Initiatives Fund. This was “to address the problem of poor freshwater quality […]

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The Waitaki River needs our help

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing a major change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan. This change would reduce the river’s minimum flow by a third (from 150 to 102 cubic meters per second) for periods over the summer. A lower minimum flow risks even poorer water quality, more didymo infestation, increased predation of braided riverbed birds nesting […]

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Greener Christchurch

I am so proud to stand alongside my caucus colleagues and Green Party Christchurch candidates to announce our Greener Christchurch policy for this election. We held the launch at the beautiful new Visitor’s Centre at the Botanic Gardens, where we announced our commitment to smart transport solutions, a greener rebuild, a return of local democracy and […]

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Silver Fern Farms fails the Waimakariri River

[UPDATED] Silver Fern Farms Ltd’s recent application to Environment Canterbury to discharge treated meatworks waste(3500 cubic meters per day) including fat and faecal matter into the Waimakariri River highlights why we need change of Government . We need the stronger national bottomlines for water quality and a network of protected rivers as the Green Party […]

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Tukituki Plan decision bad news for Government’s weak water quality rules

Yesterday’s release of the Board of Inquiry’s final decisions on the regional plan provisions for the Tukituki River and catchment as part of the Ruataniwha dam project confirms that National’s favoured approach to bottom lines for water quality will not help our rivers. The Board of Inquiry for the Tukituki Catchment Proposal rejected the Government’s […]

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Is Canterbury all right?

Last week the fantastic ‘All Right?’ campaign in Christchurch released results of their ‘Are we all right?’ project – their latest research into how Cantabrians are doing. The ‘All Right?’ campaign is a brilliant local initiative that reminds us to check in on how we and the people around us are feeling. They’ve used creative […]

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