It’s been a difficult few weeks for the government. Two developments have been causing headaches. The first, the leaking of documents that raised concerns that New Zealand might be being used as a tax haven. The second was the news that high profile Maori leaders were joining the fight against the Kermadec Islands Ocean Sanctuary.
Last Saturday, National launched their controversial water discussion document at a Party conference at Lake Tekapo. By announcing the major reform of the country’s system of freshwater management at a remote location on a weekend, National will have ensured that that most New Zealanders are unaware that a public consultation and submission process is now underway.
A report on the burden to economies of environmental policies, prepared by the OECD in 2014, ranked New Zealand 28th out of 34 member countries. It highlighted that real problems exist with our system of environmental regulation.
The point is that junk science and hype-driven press coverage, doesn’t just apply to the diet industry. Dubious research can be found in all sorts of areas to justify claims for political or financial advantage. But nowhere is it more evident than in the field of climate change.
There is no definitive scientific proof, through real-world observation, that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming of the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age.
The question that really needs to be asked is whether it is prudent for our government to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on policies based on a theory, since man-made global warming is still unproven.
The Northland by-election is a significant win for Winston Peters. In the short-term it takes away from National the luxury of being able to pass legislation without having to kowtow to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party.
The 1991 Resource Management Act (RMA) is under fire because it is seen in many quarters as an impediment to much-needed investment in housing and business. At the same time, communities are concerned that the Act is not serving the environment well,
Apathy and indifference are major threats to our democracy, not only through low voter turnouts in elections, but more importantly, by leaving open a window of opportunity for extremist minority interest groups to impose their will on the majority.
The Green Party had a significant impact on government regulation and legislation during the nine years Helen Clark was Prime Minister. While many radical environmental initiatives were eventually dropped or terminated by the National Government, others, like the ban on household fires and older wood burners, remain in place.