Moratorium on seabed mining needed

Gareth Hughes accepts petition on Parliament steps

Today at Parliament, I accepted a petition signed by more than 6,000 people calling for a moratorium on seabed mining. This is also the day Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) second application attempt to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight opens for the twenty days of submissions period under the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) rules. […]

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Greens call on Minister to “call in” new polluting power plant

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The Green Party launched a campaign on Friday to stop the proposed construction of a new gas-fired power plant in South Waikato that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, causing climate change. Nova Energy has applied for resource consents to build a gas-burning power plant near Otorohanga. I’m asking Environment Minister Nick Smith to “call in” […]

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Time to halt flawed, ideological electricity grid pricing proposal

Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes at Meridian's the West Wind farm

You know your proposal has probably got something seriously wrong with it when you have councils, lines companies, businesses, chambers of commerce, Federated Farmers and the Green Party opposed. Does the Electricity Authority know it though? Today, a group of businesses, local government and electricity sector participants has come out in support of a legal […]

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Swimmable Rivers tour – Waikirikiri/Selwyn

Catherine at Selwyn Huts - River algae

This week, we had our second stop on our Swimmable Rivers tour, this time in Canterbury at the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River. I had a great day with our two Canterbury MPs Eugenie Sage and Mojo Mathers and our amazing Christchurch staff. The Waikirikiri/ Selwyn rivers runs from the hills to Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere through the plains. […]

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Havelock North outbreak – what might have caused it

Tukituki River.
Credit: Ulrich Lange, Dunedin, New Zealand - Wikimedia Commons

The cause of the contamination in Havelock’s water remains unclear. It has been established that bacterial contamination from a ruminant animal (cow, deer, or sheep) resulted in people becoming ill. We also know heavy rain and surface flooding occurred just before the outbreak, and prior to that warm and dry conditions had caused cracks to form […]

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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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We need to talk about Bill

Auckland, where the average house price is almost one million dollars. Image credit: Malcolm Peacey

We need to talk about Bill English’s repeated accusations that planning is responsible for stratospherically high house prices and inequality, and about the opportunity the Auckland Unitary Plan has to get housing back on the right track. Ever since he wrote the forward to Demographia’s 2013 annual housing affordability survey, our Minister of Finance has […]

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Take me to the river

Ruamāhanga River

The Ruamahānga is a beautiful river, much loved by those who live near it. But it faces many pressures. South of Masterton, the river is affected by sewage issues and land use intensification that have reduced water clarity and made the river unsafe for swimming, particularly at The Cliffs, a scenic spot near a vineyard straight out of a tourist brochure. Unfortunately, the water has a D rating. You risk getting a nasty bug if you put your head under.

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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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Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto

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New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system so we have a single provider, a monopoly called Transpower, which is meant to be […]

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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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Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen

Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]

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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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Milk and coal in South Canterbury

This week, Fonterra’s application to expand its milk-drying factory and burn more coal at Studholme, in South Canterbury, is being put to the test. The local council is considering the application and hearing from people who’ve asked to make submissions. It might come as a surprise to many people that Fonterra is one of New […]

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Trillion dollars wasted on coal

Huntly Power station - New Zealand's last big coal-fired power plant

If you had a trillion dollars to spend on energy, would you invest it in burning coal for electricity? Well that’s exactly what is slated to happen internationally, according to a new report. The report, published by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm, explains that coal-generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in […]

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The Government’s fresh water reforms aren’t so fresh after all

Last weekend the Government put out a consultation document on cleaning up freshwater called Next Steps for Fresh Water. it has have to look like it’s doing something big, because we are now at a crisis point with water quality. However we are disappointed in the plans, which lack some fundamental and essential commitments to […]

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