I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger treat than playing in the snow, on top of a mountain. Even now, as an adult, […]
On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic.
New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our economy is becoming, but the good news is that with some decent political leadership, there […]
Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is painfully clear to the people I meet as I travel around the country, visiting rivers […]
Gareth Hughes says the public should get a say on Nova Energy’s proposed big new polluting power plant in Waikato
We’ve had some pretty decent solar spills lately and, unlike the Rena spill, the impacts are simply a lovely day and clean energy. Greenpeace has a good write-up on Stuff Nation on why solar is a great technology for New Zealand. In New Zealand, like many other countries, we’ve seen stunning growth in solar panel […]
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 […]
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 […]
The nationwide swimmable rivers tour went west this week to the Taranaki community of Waitara. Waitara was once a densely populated food gathering area with magnificent coastal reefs of kaimoana and a stony-bottomed tidal river full of fish.
How is it that New Zealand is supposed to be playing our part in the global mission to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, yet Nova Energy is proposing to build more fossil fuel-burning power plants that emit greenhouse gases?
On Wednesday night my Members’ Bill to stop the Public Works Act taking any more Māori land was voted down by the National Government. This is not the end of the campaign to raise awareness that the Public Works Act can still take Māori land.
A collection of chambers of commerce, electricity lines companies, Federated Farmers, and businesses have just released a survey showing 56% of Kiwis wouldn’t want to pay less for power if others had to pay more.
Today I met with locals living rurally near Otorohanga, south Waikato, who will be affected by Nova Energy’s plan to build a new 360MW gas-fired power station. In a bit of a tag team, James Shaw asked questions in Parliament about the same thing.
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. […]
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” […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
The intention of the Bill is to address maritime terrorism. We support that intention. Our Green Party Charter principle of non-violence commits us to work for peace, including an absence of terrorism around the world and clean and peaceful seas.
Council staff have prepared a 600+ page document responding to Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) recommendations on Auckland’s Unitary Plan.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Kiwis are going solar in record numbers to escape rising power bills and get a degree of energy freedom, but the electricity industry is using a host of tactics to try and discourage them.
In 2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not be held accountable.
For many New Zealanders the loss of swimmable rivers and the effects of intensive agriculture are big issues and they want it cleaned up. William Rolleston is running lines that no one believes and which do Federated Farmers reputation no good at all. Denying that 62 percent of our monitored rivers are too dirty for safe swimming is pointless.
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.
Saving rivers cannot be put in the too hard basket and I am looking forward to meeting water activists across country so we can support your efforts. Clean water is well worth this effort, it’s essential that we clean up rivers and make them swimmable again!
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 […]
If you read the news there are a lot of terrifying climate change reports being published but a new global resurvey of clean energy just out should give us some hope. Last year was a record year for clean energy globally according to the latest annual Renewables Global Status Report published this week. We are […]
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making a big deal about cuts to Conservation funding and the impact they are having on the work the Department of Conservation is charged with doing. Yet Maggie Barry, the Minister of Conservation, says I’ve got it all wrong. So I thought a review might be in order.
This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a great panel of speakers from a range of backgrounds. I was unsure how concerned people would […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Last Saturday, my colleague Eugenie Sage took me for a drive across the Canterbury Plains. I had seen from the air the landuse changes across the plains in recent times; a patchwork of crops and stock raising has been transformed into a green desert. Driving through, the treeless expanses are vast. The paddocks are dominated […]
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” […]
This week, I went to Wairoa and met people affected by the Waihi dam failure and the huge impact of silt build up on the waterways. This disaster started last year when the Waihi dam behind Wairoa sluice gate broke and tonnes of built-up silt poured into the river. The main damage occurred between November and January, […]
Imagine this: you are in a cage so small you cannot even turn around. In a building with hundreds of other mothers also confined in cages. Something goes wrong nearby and thick choking smoke fills the building followed by a rapid increase in stifling heat. You can hear the frantic screams of your neighbours. Panic […]