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Dr Muriel Newman

Agenda 21

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There is a strange irony about New Zealanders. While some are extremely vocal in opposing foreign ownership of land or assets, many turn a blind eye when a foreign group like the United Nations effectively takes over aspects of our governance and institutional arrangements.

A case in point is Agenda 21, a United Nations political agenda that is designed to control resources and people. It has been embedded in New Zealand’s institutional framework for over 20 years, manifesting itself through such buzz words as ‘sustainable development’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘smart growth’, ‘waste minimisation’, and ‘population control’. Former Minister of the Environment Dr Nick Smith acknowledged its influence in March in a speech entitledRio+20: The Future We Want: “In the twenty years since the Rio Earth Summit, ground-breaking concepts contained in the Rio principles and Agenda 21 have been mainstreamedinto our daily lives”.

Dr Smith explained, “This year’s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development will focus on two themes: the green economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development”. While this sounds worthy, what it signals is an expansion of global governance controls on New Zealanders that will further undermine our culture and private property rights that have traditionally underpinned our economic growth and our identity in the world.

Agenda 21 had its origins at the first Earth Summit in Sweden in 1972 through the establishment of the United Nations Environmental Programme. In 1992, at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, world leaders from 179 nations attending the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) agreed to adopt five conventions including Agenda 21.

Ten years later in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, the full implementation of Agenda 21 was strongly reaffirmed by world leaders.

Essentially Agenda 21 is based on the notion that humans are destroying the planet and as a result, every aspect of our lives needs to be controlled. The mechanism being used to bring about this change is “sustainable development”, which is defined to mean development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.

According to the UN, “Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which humans impact on the environment.” The Preamble begins, “Humanity stands at a defining moment in history. We are confronted with a perpetuation of disparities between and within nations, a worsening of poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being. However, integration of environment and development concerns and greater attention to them will lead to the fulfilment of basic needs, improved living standards for all, better protected and managed ecosystems and a safer, more prosperous future. No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can – in a global partnership for sustainable development.”1

Critics claim Agenda 21 is a system of global control – the UN’s plan for a centrally managed global society, where governments around the world implement laws that control the way we live, where we live, and how we live … all under the noble banner of saving an endangered planet. If fully implemented, Agenda 21 would have governments involved in almost every aspect of human life on earth.

The 300 pages and 40 Chapters in Agenda 21 consist of 115 different and very specific programs designed to force the transition to sustainable development. The Agenda is broken up into four main areas: Social and Economic Dimensions, which cover such things as combating poverty and protecting human health; Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, which focuses on protecting the atmosphere and other natural resources, promoting sustainable agriculture, and conserving biodiversity; Strengthening the Role of Major Groups, which promotes action plans for women, youth and indigenous groups, as well as the key role to be played by Local Government; and Means of Implementation, which looks at the financing of the plan, educating children and the general public about the plan, and the ways of implementing the plan through changing institutional arrangements.

New Zealand’s institutional arrangements were changed to support Agenda 21 back in the early nineties, although work began on the key piece of legislation to implement ‘sustainable development’ – the Resource Management Act – before that. A high powered UNCED Implementation Officials Group was established to coordinate the operation. This group of officials from the Ministry for the Environment, Agriculture, Commerce, Conservation, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Forestry, Research Science and Technology, Transport, Maori Development, Health, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, was responsible for driving through the laws and regulations necessary for Agenda 21.

The UN’s overarching strategy for implementing Agenda 21 has been to work locally. Local government was specifically identified as the target vehicle using – as a controlling mechanism – the endless and ever-expanding raft of district and regional plans. Achieving their objective has been made easy through the implementations of a farcical process that passes off as “consultation” but is, in effect, little more than tokenism to justify a predetermined outcome. While most councils do not disclose their involvement with Agenda 21, others like the Hamilton City Council, feature it on their website: “Agenda 21, a guide to global sustainability, is a national commitment. Its principles are modified into Local Agenda 21 according to the specific needs and priorities of a country or community. These are the overlying principles that should guide development through New Zealand. In all its activities, Council will be guided by the principles of Agenda 21 in its progression towards becoming a Sustainable City. All units will be responsible for the implementation of Agenda 21 under the guidelines of the Strategic Plan.”2

By working with politicians and high level officials, the United Nations has ensured that Agenda 21 has been adopted around the world. As a result of the relentless promotion of its political agenda by local government (and in particular the staff), it is now having a profound impact on people’s lives – eroding their private property rights, dictating where they can and can’t live, imposing ‘biodiversity’ restrictions on landowners, preventing rural subdivision, requiring resource consents for established activities like farming, requiring the registration of all dams and wells, promoting urban intensification through smart growth, compelling the use of public transport instead of private cars, imposing excessively high water quality standards at enormous cost to ratepayers, and forcing such unnecessarily stringent air quality standards that in many parts of the country the public can no longer use cost-effective open fires or wood burners to heat their homes – nor burn their rubbish in a garden incinerator.

This situation has now become so ridiculous, that families in Christchurch whose homes are being demolished because of the earthquake are not allowed to install replacement wood burners in their new homes – because of the excessively strict air quality standards. While these restrictions on traditional home heating methods were imposed under the guise of reducing the death rate from respiratory disease, new evidence now shows that they were unnecessary since emissions from fires and wood burners have been found to have almost no adverse impact on human health – see the open letter here>>> to Environment Canterbury from Health Board member Wendy Gilchrist, who is asking that Christchurch residents be permitted to reinstate complying wood burners in their new replacement homes.

Twenty years on, the public are now recognising the failings of the global socialist agenda that has been imposed on us and they are waking up to  the negative consequences on their quality of life.

In the US, the public are fighting back against Agenda 21 to protect their freedom and rights – as this week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, US freelance journalist Alex Newman explains in his article Alabama bans UN Agenda 21:

“Alabama became the first state to adopt a tough law protecting private property and due process by prohibiting any government involvement with or participation in a controversial United Nations scheme known as Agenda 21. Activists from across the political spectrum celebrated the measure’s approval as a significant victory against the UN “sustainability” plot, expressing hope that similar sovereignty-preserving measures would be adopted in other states as the nationwide battle heats up.

“The law, aimed at protecting private property rights, specifically prevents all state agencies and local governments in Alabama from participating in the global scheme in any way: The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to Agenda 21.

Alabama’s adoption of a binding law to veto Agenda 21 and expunge its influence from their statute books brings to 8 the number of states this year that have passed laws or resolutions against the UN’s political plan. Opponents to Agenda 21 are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.

It’s fair to say the public globally are also tiring of the doomsday messages of Agenda 21 advocates. The Agenda claims that the global environment is deteriorating, when there is much evidence to show it is improving. It claims that the Earth’s resources are finite and running out, when history shows that through innovation and technology, mankind finds ways to replenish the environment and discover new methods to meet demands. The Agenda asserts that wealth acquisition is a key cause of global degradation, when common sense tells us that wealthy societies are far better able to protect their environment than poor ones. As a result the UN wants to redefine wealth and prosperity, making people who succeed feel guilty so they will change their lifestyle and be less dependent on the Earth’s resources.

The Agenda promotes ‘green jobs’ as the saviour for an economy, when research shows that for every green job created, at least 2.2 ordinary jobs in the general economy will be destroyed – and if the ‘green jobs’ are created by subsidies, that same money could have created nearly five times as many ordinary jobs. Agenda 21 promotes the need to ‘educate’ children in order to change consumption patterns, and a quick look at the school curriculum will show that their propaganda is deeply embedded, with concepts such as sustainability, waste minimisation, and smart growth, along with a bias against farming, cars, and wealth, found at almost every level of schooling.

Through Agenda 21, the UN clearly aims to control the population. As a political organisation the UN has been very effective at imposing their values on our society – often without the public even recognising the fact. Surely we should be forming our own concepts of right and wrong, good and bad based on our own unique values and culture, rather than importing those values from a socialist organisation based on the other side of the world. What do you think?

  1.  United Nations, Agenda 21
  2.  Hamilton City Council, Agenda 21 Council Policy