Greens ramp up defence of environment and workers

The Green Party is heading into a new parliamentary term promising to ramp up efforts to defend both the environment and workers from National plans to ram through changes that will attack both, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.

National has signalled it will attempt to get planned changes to the Resource Management Act and the Employment Relations Act passed as quickly as possible, in order to please its big business backers.

“The environment and workers’ rights are seriously threatened by these two pieces of legislation, which is why National couldn’t get them passed in the last parliamentary term,” Mrs Turei said.

“It is crucial for a fairer and cleaner New Zealand that these laws do not pass. We’ve shown how public action can be effective in the past, forcing changes to proposed mining legislation for example. Alongside political leadership from the Green Party there will need to be more much stronger public opposition to prevent National passing these and other damaging laws in the future.

“National’s proposed changes to the RMA will remove vital legal protections for the environment, and fundamentally change the Act’s sustainable management purpose to put the interest of business ahead of the environment.

“The Employment Relations Amendment Bill is designed to weaken workers’ rights, making it much harder to negotiate for better conditions, even removing workers’ automatic right to a break.

“These two Bills show National’s true colours as the party that puts the interests of the few ahead of everything else.

“John Key should honour the respect and love that New Zealanders have for their environment, and honour our workers by abandoning these regressive law changes immediately,” Mrs Turei said.