Cautionary tales from the Swimmable Rivers campaign

Lucas Creek launch

Every week, I get media alerts about unhealthy water, including algae risks at swimming spots and boil water notices in small towns. It got personal the other week when I went kayaking on a river and found a rash on my arms and legs wherever I had touched the water. The rash formed small itchy […]

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Will Bill and Paula fix Auckland’s transport?

The New Zealand economy - stuck kin traffic

Last week we experienced one of those watershed moments in the tale of Auckland’s transport. The road to the airport became more car park than motorway; as a result dozens of flights were delayed, people missed their flights and had to foot the bill for costly changes. Gridlock at Auckland airport @AKL_Airport #welcometoNZ pic.twitter.com/tmfyLZbM43 — […]

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New energy strategy a missed opportunity

Green energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes visits a home powered by solar panels

You’d be forgiven for not noticing that the Government published a new draft energy strategy this week. It’s basically the same as the old energy strategy, which they published in 2011, but with one new target around industrial process emissions intensity. In short, it’s a missed opportunity that shows a lack of bold vision and […]

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RCEP trade deal risks repeating TPPA mistakes

TPPA March

The lesson from the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) should have been that it is time to re-think this type of so-called trade agreement. But despite warnings from internationally-recognised experts, there are more secretive “trade” negotiations happening this week, and the risks are huge. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated […]

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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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Stand up for the environment we love – say no to seabed mining

Maui's Dolphin

It’s the place where the world’s largest whales feed and the smallest dolphins live, so why would we risk it with experimental seabed mining? Submissions are currently open on Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) application to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight, TTR’s second attempt second attempt after the first one was turned down. The […]

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Want to save our species? Get the funding right first

Brown Kiwi

Today, the Government announced its draft kiwi recovery plan, which seeks to turn around the current decline in kiwi numbers. It is an ambitious plan that rightly recognises that predator control and habitat protection will be key to saving the kiwi. What is most concerning however, is that there is an acknowledged annual funding shortfall […]

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Moratorium on seabed mining needed

Gareth Hughes accepts a petition against seabed mining at Parliament last month

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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