GARETH HUGHES (Green) to the Minister of Energy and Resources: Does she agree with Dr Russel Norman, who said that section 101B(1)(c) of the Crown Minerals Act 1991, known as the Anadarko Amendment, was "put in place by the Government to protect the interest of big oil and to stifle dissent"?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister of Energy and Resources): Surprisingly, no. It is about keeping people safe and balancing the right to protest with the petroleum operators' right to carry out their lawful and permitted work. I certainly do not agree with any tactics that put people's lives at risk. Health and safety is something that this Government takes very seriously.
Gareth Hughes: If the "Anadarko Amendment" is all about protecting people's safety, why does it apply only to the oil and mining industries, and is this simply a case of one law for us and one law for oil?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Well, of course there is no such thing as an Anadarko amendment; that is simply a figment of that member's imagination. If, however, he wants to say that there should be the rule of law and it should be complied with, then yes, I agree with that one.
Gareth Hughes: Can the Minister confirm that that 2013 amendment, used to charge Dr Norman, was passed under urgency with no consultation and received no New Zealand Bill of Rights Act check, and that polls at the time showed 79 percent of Kiwis wanted to see it withdrawn or sent back to committee?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: The matter was a matter for Parliament. Parliament made the law, and the law is something that needs to be upheld.
Gareth Hughes: Has the Royal New Zealand Navy ever been used to detain oil drilling protestors; if so, is it right for the State to be used as the private security of the oil industry?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: That would be an entirely hypothetical question, because, of course, the State is not used as a private security company for anybody.
Gareth Hughes: Given that her department and the Government have opened up the Māui's dolphin sanctuary for oil drilling, give tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to the oil industry, and are now threatening to lock up oil protesters, is it not time that this country had a separation of oil and State?
Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Many points for a dramatic turn of phrase, but, really, the State does not lock people up. That is a matter for the courts, and the courts actually look at—these matters are put before them, and, of course, in relation to Mr Norman, I make no comment, because I do not interfere in the courts' business.
Question No. 4 to Minister
Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): I seek leave of the House to table the Environment Court decision of 7 July 2011 putting the nutrient limits in place in Lake Taupō.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leave is put for that purpose. Is there any objection? There appears to be none.
Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.
Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You did not let me get to my leave application in respect of the earlier decision of Judge Skelton that was under appeal in the decision that has just been tabled.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: So I take it that that is advice rather than a point of order?
Hon DAVID PARKER: No, no—I seek leave to table the first ever nutrient limit on a New Zealand catchment for nitrate limits, which was the decision of Judge Skelton in the Taupō catchment, accompanied by $70 million in funding from the then Labour Government.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: OK. I believe the document has been adequately described. Leave is put for that purpose. Is there any objection? There is objection.