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 […]

Continue reading


Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto

tiwai-electricityprices

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 […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


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” […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


Taking Climate Action to the Next Level: Reflections by a UN Climate Chief

 As the ink dries on the Paris Agreement concluded in December, the significance of the event is now being weighed up.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are extremes in views.  At one and the same time, it is an ‘historic moment of hope for humanity’; it goes ‘nowhere near far enough’; and it is even a ‘fraud’. […]

Continue reading


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 […]

Continue reading


Indigenous action strong despite weak Paris climate agreement

In my maiden speech to Parliament I said that affirming indigenous rights and supporting our traditional wisdoms is ESSENTIAL to combatting climate change. With the signing of the Paris climate agreement I am surer of that than ever. Around the world indigenous people are at the forefront of the fight to shut down dangerous fossil […]

Continue reading


The Old Economy is over, but National hasn’t got the memo

There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]

Continue reading


Ensuring robust GE protections must also ensure safety of older technologies

A few weeks ago the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) called for submissions about proposed changes to the classifications and subsequent rules around organisms developed using chemical and radiation treatments and that may be considered products of genetic modification (GE/GMO). Background For many years some plant breeding especially, has used chemical or radiation mutagenesis treatments to […]

Continue reading