Fast-track submissions period must be extended

The Green Party has joined the call for public submissions on the fast-track legislation to be extended after the Ombudsman forced the Government to release the list of organisations invited to apply just hours before submissions close. 

"Smoke, mirrors and shadows continue to shroud the Government’s fast-track legislation,” says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. 

“It is outrageous for Minister Bishop to release the list of stakeholders invited to participate in the fast-track process only hours before public submissions close and after thousands of people have already had their say, without crucial information. 

“The Government is trying its very best to do democracy in the dark by obscuring and restricting the information available to the public whilst limiting the opportunity people have to engage. 

“The list released this afternoon includes organisations that have lost cases in the Environment, High and Supreme Courts, failing to meet our environmental standards and now being given the opportunity by the Government to use this legislation to bypass them. 

“We join Forest and Bird in its call for the submissions period to be extended so members of the public are able to have their say whilst armed with the incredibly salient information the Government has decided to release in the final hour. 

“If Minister Bishop was truly committed to transparency he would have released this list at the start of the submissions period, not the end and without the input of the Ombudsman. 

“The Government can either rectify this by extending the submissions period or choose to continue to build on its democracy-dodging legacy by once again skirting around due process. The choice is simple,” says Marama Davidson.