Privatising environmental decisions will cost the environment and the public

Forcing councils to contract out regulatory functions such as issuing resource consents is likely to cost the environment and the public, the Green Party said today.

When Environment Minister Nick Smith said at this weekend's National Party conference that he could force councils to contract out regulatory functions, he seemed to have forgotten that past experiences doing this very thing has been a disaster.

"We need environmental decision makers to operate in an open, transparent and democratically accountable way in order to protect our environment and the places New Zealanders treasure most," said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage. 
 
"There is a major concern that if private, profit-driven companies are to be involved in environmental regulation and making resource consent decisions about new quarries, irrigation takes, discharges, subdivision, marine farming and activities that affect land, water and the coast, protection of the environment will be at the bottom of the list.

"Contracting our regulatory functions will make councils less accountable to citizens for the state of the local environment.

"With the last week's series of disasters involving the privatisation of prisons, it doesn't make sense to be talking about privatising even more services that should be kept in public hands. 
 
"In 2007, Queenstown Lakes District Council had to pay more than $3m to buy private company CivicCorp to bring its RMA consent processing and other regulatory functions back inhouse.

"CivicCorp was then the largest local government contracting company of its type in New Zealand.
 
"There had been long running disputes between QLDC and the CivicCorp about the company's poor performance and unacceptably high level of profit. Council had to bring its regulatory functions back inhouse to improve the services and so the council was able to carry out its statutory functions under RMA and other legislation.
 
"Forcing councils to privatise their regulatory roles is another attack on local democracy by having Ministers direct how councils should operate," said Ms Sage.
 

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Stronger biosecurity protections at our border and for our iconic kauri

$28 million (as part of $32 million over five years) to roll out a National Pest Management Plan to protect kauri from dieback. $8.9 million for a...
Read More

Story

Green Party dismayed at delay in intensive winter grazing regulations

“The Government’s decision to cave into agribusiness and delay the implementation of critical regulations on intensive winter grazing is a bad outc...
Read More

Story

Seaweek: Green Party calls on New Zealanders to make submissions supporting Waiheke Rāhui to protect declining kaimoana

The Green Party supports the Rāhui placed around Waiheke Island by Ngāti Pāoa to protect declining kaimoana and as part of Seaweek, is asking New Z...
Read More

Story

Green Party calls on Government to stop dirty fishing practice of bottom trawling

The Green Party is calling on the Government to urgently stop dirty, degrading fishing practices in areas most vulnerable to destruction.
Read More

Story

Greens commit to ensuring strong oceans protection this term

The Green Party will work with Labour this term to ensure better protections for our oceans, Green MP Eugenie Sage said today.
Read More

Story

Successful prosecution of Talley’s deep-water fishing division shows need for more marine protected areas and better enforcement

Today’s ruling that Talley’s deep-water fishing division, Amaltal, is guilty of bottom trawling in the Hikurangi Marine Reserve demonstrates the ne...
Read More