I would just like to explain to any of the New Zealanders who are listening to this debate or watching it that normally by its second reading a bill would have gone to a select committee. The select committee would have invited public submissions. The select committee would then have heard those submissions. Submitters normally make quite constructive comments on the policy in the bill and on any of the deficiencies in it, and suggest amendments and how it could be improved. It is a place too where you pick up any major defects in the drafting.
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The Board of Inquiry decision on the Tukituki regional plan confirms that National's approach to water quality rules will allow our rivers to become toxic, the Green Party said today.
"The Board's decision signals that the Government's favoured model for managing water quality doesn't stack up and will allow more water pollution," said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
The Board has said water quality should be managed to ensure rivers are ecologically healthy and not allowed to become toxic.
We are dealing with Part 1 and the purpose, which is to allow the *director-general to authorise the removal from certain conservation areas and reserves of timber. I would like to make some general comments before going on to talk a bit about the specifics of the *Supplementary Order Paper 474, which is in my name.
The Waste Minimisation Act was introduced in 2008 and it calls for every territorial local authority to have waste management and minimisation plans. These vary from place to place, so last week I visited Whakatane to see how that town deals with their waste. Like most places in New Zealand their council provides a household waste and recycling kerbside collection which they contract to a large multi-national company. For Whakatane the waste is transported to another centre to end up in landfill and the recycling is trucked to Tauranga to be mechanically sorted and then on-sold.
This is a very dismal process. We have got a bill, the *West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill, being put forward by the Minister of Conservation, which attacks the very integrity of conservation land. We have had a process that is totally anti-democratic, there has not been any opportunity for the public to have say, and in the Committee stage we had the Minister in the chair, Nick Smith, sitting there and not answering a single question posed by Labour members, New Zealand First, or Green members.
It's an insult for the National Party to offer regional families their roading upgrades as an election bribe funded by the asset sales slush fund, when investing in the local roading network should come out of operational budgets as part of the normal process of prioritising transport investment, the Green Party said today.
The Government has today announced a $212 million investment in 14 regional roading projects, funded through the Government's Future Investment Fund, which holds the proceeds from the sale of state-owned assets.
Going back to the research programme, it is interesting that the Minister in the chair, the Minister of Conservation, has not taken a single call to answer any of the questions that have been put by the Opposition members. The National members are not taking any calls either to defend this bill, the West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill. Once again, the Government members are not committed to this legislation in the sense of being able to defend it. They are quite happy for our conservation lands to be opened up to logging without even echoing any concerns.
The horrendous conditions animals are living in at a Canterbury pig farm are completely unacceptable and show that MPI are failing to do their job by putting economic interests ahead of animal welfare, said the Green Party today.
Footage obtained by Farm Watch and SAFE from a Canterbury farm, which featured tonight on TV One's Sunday programme, showed animals living in horrendous conditions and revealed how inadequate New Zealand's regulation of the pig industry is.
Well, I think that this *West Coast Wind-blown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill is certainly an exercise in pork barrel politics in trying to get votes for the National Party's candidate on the West Coast, but I wish it was just a cheap political stunt. It is much more than that because it has very serious consequences for our conservation legislation—even in clause 10 of the bill with a very different test that this is imposing on the *Director-General of Conservation for how he is going to evaluate these applications to log on conservation land.
National's announcement that it intends to spend $212 million upgrading regional roads is not just a naked election bribe, but poor economics, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.
"National plans to pay for upgrading regional roads from the so-called Future Fund - receipts from the sale of state assets. National have essentially sold our profit generating state owned assets to pay for regular upkeep of New Zealand roads. Every householder knows that is disastrous economics," Ms Genter said.