New Zealand’s environment is bruised. Since National came to power, it has been dealt some nasty blows. Our clean green brand is reeling, black and blue from disrespect and shoddy treatment. And today it was blindsided with the announcement of a 'reform' of the Resource Management Act.
Essentially the changes will make it easier for developments to proceed, and harder for individuals and communities to object.
This is a major reform that has been prepared without any public input or consultation, it’s another nail in the coffin of New Zealand's precious clean green reputation, and combined with the Government's U-turn on climate change, it shows a sickening lack of commitment to the environment.
Making no bones about his obsession with growth at any cost, Prime Minister John Key employed the use of the following Gen Y-exec speak when making the announcement: “unlock lost growth potential” “untangle red tape” “remove handbrake on growth” “remove the barriers that stand in the way of infrastructure”.
In other words, full steam ahead! Up with those new fossil fuelled power stations! Onwards with those roads! Roll out those industrial dairy farms where forests once were…the possibilities are endless now we’re brake-less.
The problem is that prioritising growth and development over the environment is nonsensical, given that the sustainability of that growth is entirely dependent on the environment. As Tourism Minister, John Key should know that gutting New Zealand’s environment protection law is not going to serve us well in the long term.
In these times of economic peril, the best life raft we’ve got is our clean green brand. Today it has been forsaken for short term, big-business driven growth. We’re now officially raft-less, and the seas are getting mighty choppy.