Like the kakapo, New Zealand sea lions/rāpoka are classified as critically endangered. There are only an estimated 11,800 of them left on the planet. Their numbers are falling each year.
On a grey and chilly spring day, Canterbury artist and writer Sam Mahon, sculptor Alison Erickson and friends erected a beautiful sculpture “Vigil” of Catherine Sintenie outside Environment Canterbury Regional Council’s (ECan’s) lavish new offices in central Christchurch.
The report by independent QC Michael Heron reviewing the Ministry of Primary Industry’s (MPI) failure to prosecute fishing companies or vessels after three compliance operations lays out a sad and sorry tale.
It was both distressing and inspiring listening to people’s stories of coping with poverty, homelessness, housing insecurity, and cold, damp rentals, and their ideas for change at the Christchurch hearing day for the joint Green, Labour, and Maori Party inquiry into homelessness.
The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of our oceans continues to exploit them for such short term gain. This week the seafood […]
Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Committee has made many changes to the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary Bill in response to public submissions, particularly submissions from iwi authorities and Te Ohu Kaimoana. Read the amended Bill and the select committee’s full report here . The Green Party’s report The Green Party supports the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill (the […]
Well done Greenpeace in asking the High Court to review the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s decision to not seek public feedback on its decision to extend the area of land that will irrigated by the Ruataniwha dam.
We have a housing emergency in New Zealand. Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have so many people living in garages, in cars and on the streets. This is not the kind of country most New Zealanders recognise or want. There aren’t enough houses in […]
National’s desperate to be seen to be doing something about the housing crisis but giving property developers a more permissive regime for new subdivision is not the answer.
The Green Party supports the Bill. We need to keep parts of our oceans for nature, free from fishing, mining and drilling and other exploitation.
Environment Minister Nick Smith and the National Government appear to have bowed to pressure from mining lobbyists to change the law to help seabed mining companies. In 2013 Trans-Tasman Resources applied for a marine consent under the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation to mine 66 km² of the seabed for iron ore off the South […]
It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make up more than half the value of these exports. The ever increasing piles of logs […]
The National Government’s Resource Legislation Bill has been described as making the most fundamental changes to the RMA since it was passed in 1991. It’s a complicated and technical bill which makes 40 changes to six different Acts, including the RMA. Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the original architect of the RMA has identified, “at least three […]
In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be a city that leads New Zealand in the way its residents live, work and play; […]
This week’s reported comments by Fonterra chair John Wilson that dairy “volumes were only going to keep increasing” are troubling. Mr Wilson was supporting a potential renegotiation of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the FTA dairy products such as whole milk powder attract higher tariffs when volume thresholds are reached, often early in […]
The Green Party supports the proposed Kermadec ocean sanctuary. We need to keep parts of our oceans free from fishing, mining and drilling and other exploitation as places where nature can thrive.
Old habits die hard. National’s knee-jerk response to experts who are forecasting unprecedented sea level rise caused by climate change has been to deny it’s a problem New Zealanders should be concerned about. Finance Minister Bill English said the National Government won’t be looking into this risk any time soon as “it’s a bit speculative” […]
It was interesting in Parliament this week, listening to the Prime Minister repeatedly say “I don’t know” to straightforward questions from Green co-leader James Shaw about the effect the dairy downturn will have on farmers, small businesses and rural retailers dependent on a good price on milk solids for their prosperity. In fact, his admission […]
The earthquake anniversary is hard: remembering the terror of the violent shaking, the collapsed buildings, the 185 individuals who died and others who were seriously injured, and our broken city. All of us in Christchurch and many throughout New Zealand have been affected by the earthquakes and are in different stages of recovery. Last […]
First published in The Press on 1 February 2016 A work colleague recently asked me which rivers and lakes I’d recommend she take her son and nephew swimming during an upcoming visit to Christchurch, somewhere handy to the city. I was embarrassed to email back that she would have to drive for over an […]
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 […]
Working for conservation There have been tears and joy in 2015. I wept with frustration at human arrogance and greed seeing diggers plunder Northland’s peat bog wetlands for ancient swamp kauri but marvelled at the more than 7,000 people who signed the petition to halt swamp kauri mining. We haven’t stopped the plunder but did […]
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 […]
Many of us, given the choice of either facing up to or avoiding the unsettling realities of an unstable climate, will choose to avoid it. That doesn’t make us bad, it just makes us human. But what also makes us human is our willingness to rise to the challenge when it really matters. That’s what […]
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 […]
As part of learning a new portfolio – primary industries – I have been meeting industry stakeholders, and a recent visit to the Bay of Plenty focused on the kiwifruit industry. A visit to Trevelyan’s Pack and Cool Ltd at Te Puke was a chance to learn more about post-harvest operations. It was also a […]
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, […]
As early as 2010, international climate scientists were expressing concern at the rate of ancient swamp kauri extraction in Northland. Swamp kauri provides one of the best sources in the world for measuring climate fluctuations over the last 30,000 years. Swamp kauri tree rings enable scientists to identify past climate change events, and thus significantly […]
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 […]
Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for thousands of years. The land was raw and cut by deep drains. Huge kauri logs […]
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 […]
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 […]
I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s draft 10 year plan, includes the proposal to sell-off $750 million worth of shares in […]
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 […]
A fuel spill that has coated at least one shag in oil and marred Tauranga Harbour shows how damaging offshore oil and gas exploration could be to the environment. At least one shag has been found with its body coated in oil from the spill, and teams have been out assessing the environmental impact. The […]
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 […]
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 […]
The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of the sell down of Council assets it proposes and the impacts of the Council’s decisions […]
The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters stuck in bottlenecks of traffic heading in and out of the city. Workplaces have moved […]
It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I witnessed the start of a process where Sounds stakeholders are asked to put aside personal […]