Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery

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The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video monitoring system, means commercial trawlers in one of our most important fisheries are not being […]

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Block the offer – Canterbury

Humpback whale breaching

Today, Christchurch City Council considered the National-led Government’s Block Offer 2017 proposal to tender for permits which allow companies to explore for oil and gas in New Zealand, including off the Canterbury coast . Thankfully, the City Council voted by 15 to 1 not to support the proposal and to ask Ngai Tahu and Environment […]

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NZ fisheries depend on healthy oceans – better protection needed

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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 […]

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Select committee changes Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary Bill

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 […]

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Industry lobbies hard for seabed mining in Taranaki

Back Beach on the Taranaki coast [Photo/ Dave Yound]

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 […]

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RMA changes restrict public’s right to have a say

Restricting public participation under the RMA as the  Resource Legislation Bill proposes will limit the ability of individuals and organisations to speak out for nature  and protect areas such as the Denniston Plateau from coal mining and limit the ability of councils to consider the information submissions provide

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 […]

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Fonterra sticks with high pollution goal of increasing milk supply

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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 […]

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If your head’s in the sand, watch out for the rising tide

Melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet mean we need to move now to prepare for rising seas

Photo credit: Christopher Michel https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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” […]

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The dairy downturn

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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 […]

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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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