As tourism operators we have decided to make submissions to the Select committee currently discussing the "Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill." This is a bill designed to regulate the rules for offshore oil drilling. The premise for the idea is not a bad one, obviously there need to be safeguards in place where curently there are none. However this bill in its current form is a cynical attempt by the government to enable them to choose regulatory standards as they please, (the bill itself is empty), without public consultation, with no surety of environmental outcomes, in pursuit of the ill-conceived drive for deep sea drilling in our offshore economic zone.
Tourism in NZ is directly threatened by these current economic development policies and we plan to do what ever we can to both protect our country and encourage you to particpate.
It is too important to not do this. Please take the time to write a letter and submit it and ask to be heard as well.
Listen to the debate in parliament after the first reading. It will give you the best info about what the bill is about. The bill itself is incomprehensible if you just attempt to read the parliament website. So go to this website and go through each video and spend some time listening to each politicians response.
I liked Moana Mackey and Charles Chauvel, others are very informative too. They all present different points.
Heres some incomprehensible info:
The format can be a simple letter or more, it is up to you. The basic information in a submission could be:
Below are my personal submission and Tonys submission. Mine is simple and personal (I am not a skilled writer) and Tonys is a lot more indepth. I'll put mine first:
My name is Leonie Johnsen, I own a NZ ecotourism business based in the beautiful Bay of Plenty and have worked previously on environmental and ecological farming issues in my role as production manager for The Soil & Health Assoc magazine, Organic NZ.
I have travelled widely in both NZ and globally, experiencing first hand environmentally degraded sites - once beautiful areas that depend exclusively on tourism for their economy - yet the citizens have proven unable to sustain the environment that supports them. You can see their desperation, without their environment they have nothing.
Tourism is NZ’s largest economic sector, yet for some reason the government is actively pursuing policies to despoil what was once pristine. There is no economic sense in this. My business is personally hurting from the recent oil spill off the coast of Tauranga. I have guests arriving to dive at White Island in December. Will that still be viable? Where is my economic bailout when things go wrong?
I am not a writer, I am not a public speaker, I don’t get paid to write submissions as you do. I have spent hours of my “leisure” time researching this incomprehensible submission process in an attempt to have a say in my personal economic future. The only reason I am making a submission is for my daughter’s sake so she will know that I didn’t watch on the sideline and do nothing.
My belief is, the mammoth costs of dealing with climate change render any short term profits from fossil fuel extraction irrelevant and insane to pursue. Oil exploration beyond the depths of 200 metres is risky, expensive and destructive. It is not called “frontier” drilling for no reason. NZ has just shown how inadequately it can respond to a minor spill from a ship on the surface in shallow coastal waters. Besides the risk of the environmental disaster offshore deep water oil drilling poses, (heightened by the seismically sensitive areas where drilling is located), there is the issue of reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. Most people have a reasonable understanding of the issue.
Back in the 1970’s few people listened to scientists warnings about global warming. Even fewer heeded calls to curb economic growth so we could protect the environment. Today these ideas are starting to be appreciated. Unfortunately and illogically, not by the National Government whose Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill 321-1 (2011), proposes through an “Environmental Protection Authority” (that does not have as one of its guiding principles the protection of the environment in its purpose) to set an economic development charter for the sale of leases to multinationals to mine our seabed.
Why are these elected officials so blinded by the prospect of oil cash? They have the same access to information as we do, but they want to pretend it doesn’t exist?
It is easy to find some very scary statistics:
On a planetary level, consumption of resources is rising rapidly, biodiversity is plummeting and just about every measure shows humans affecting earth on a vast scale.
• 35% or 2788 species of all our native plant and animal species in NZ are now listed as being at risk of extinction.
• In June this year a new international study said Marine life is likely to become extinct at a rate unprecedented in human history
World Bank Economist Herman Daly notes: we are failing to grasp the simple fact that to scientists is obvious: the size of the earth as a whole is fixed. Neither the surface nor the mass of the planet is growing or shrinking. The same is true for energy budgets: the amount absorbed by the earth is equal to the amount it radiates. The overall size of the system, the amount of water, land, air, minerals and other resources present on the planet we live on – is fixed. As long as our economic system is based on chasing economic growth above all else, we are heading for environmental and economic disaster.
Dr James Hansen the U.S. NASA climate scientist who first alerted the world to climate change issues on his recent tour of NZ met with the Minister for the Environment Nick Smith. So evidently the Minister is well aware of the science behind the issues at stake.
This is the part I fail to understand, how can Nick Smith continue down the path he is pursuing? Does the man have no children or grandchildren? When an individual is in such a privileged position as to be able to directly contribute to the solutions and chooses instead to pursue a destructive path, you have to wonder WHY? The government's intention to “develop our energy potential” through an offshore oil boom is myopic in the extreme and, quite simply, amounts to stealing from my daughters future.
Evidence from the paleoclimate history suggests that atmospheric CO2 has already reached a level that will trigger major climate disruptions, such as the gradual melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Future generations will either have to deal with the roughly 7m sea level rise that would ultimately result, or invest heavily in means to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere or counter the warming effect otherwise. Every new tonne of oil that we extract and burn adds to this “ecological debt” that will be passed on, with a very high interest rate.
Meanwhile, short-term profits will accumulate largely in the pockets of wealthy investors. A minimum of the oil profits will remain in NZ, yet we will be burdened with 100% of the risk. We will still pay the same price at the petrol pumps, the oil will be sold on the global market. New Zealanders will then pay the same price as everyone else, and will continue to be exposed to the increasing volatility of world oil prices. Is this progress? The government's “growth at all costs” mentality needs to go. We need to keep the OIL in the ground as a matter of urgency.
I strongly oppose the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill on the grounds that is a cynical attempt by the government to enable them to choose regulatory standards as they please, (the bill itself is empty), without public consultation, with no surety of environmental outcomes, in pursuit of their ill-conceived push for deep sea drilling in our offshore economic zone.
This does not represent New Zealanders best interests, - we know it and they know it.
I would like to submit this, my objection to the proposed Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill.
My name is Tony Ward. I am retired Professor. For forty years I have taught Architecture and Environmental Design at the top universities in the world. In 2009-10 I was offered a (contested) one-year Distinguished Visiting Professorship at an American University, teaching in Architecture, Psychology and Educational Leadership – having experience in all three fields. For most of my academic life I also ran a small but successful design practice and consultancy, specialising in sustainable environmental design. I am a founder-member of both the Design Research Society (UK) and the Environmental Design Research Association (USA).
Besides my work in Design, I also have extensive experience in the field of Education – having for 6 years worked as Director of Programme development at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane. I am a New Zealand citizen and a resident in Whakatane where I live with my wife Leonie and our nine year-old daughter Josephine.
I am making this submission – which I would like the opportunity to present in person – because I believe that the proposed legislation is dangerous and if enacted will most probably compromise the future possibility that my daughter and her children will have available to them the clear and healthy environment that is their due. I believe the proposed legislation is:
• Inadequate in terms of its environmental safety provisions
• Aimed at opening up resources access to which are at or beyond the limits of present technology
• Devolved to an Authority which will be seriously under-resourced in the event of an environmental crisis
• Devolved to an Authority that is not truly independent but under the control of the Minister
• Deceptively anti-democratic in terms of its regulatory structure. Criteria and limits to development are to be by Ministerial Regulation rather than by debated and publicly-consulted law.
• Economically short-sighted in terms of its potential impact on other more sustainable revenue-earning industries
• Founded upon false assumptions about cost-benefit analyses
• Based upon misguided ideology of unlimited growth and failed free-market capitalism.
• Bad for the planet and the human species.
While most political commentators and parties agree that there is a need to introduce legislation that safeguards the environment of the EEZ there is significant disagreement about the efficacy of this Bill to do that adequately. The Green and Maori Parties have supported this Bill through its first reading but have signalled their opposition to major issues in the draft that will probably lead to their withdrawal of support at a later date. The Labour Party has already signalled its opposition. The need for legislation the face of increasing pressures on our natural resources is not disputed. The current legislation extends only as far as the 12 mile limit and comes under the province of the Resource Management Act. The need to protect the 200 mile Economic Exclusion Zone from predatory multinationals is of paramount importance. The Minister in introducing the Bill rejected the suggestion that the jurisdiction of the RMA might be extended to the 200 mile limit because it would be too piecemeal and would introduce too many Local and Regional Authorities in monitoring, supervising and decision-making areas for which they had neither the skill nor the resources. Instead, the oversight of the Bill when enacted, will fall to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), established in June 2010.The aim seems to be to extend the functions and processes of the present RMA into a new geographical area and under the centralised control of a new Authority. This being the case, it is important to assess how the present RMA is functioning in terms of its existing environmental protection mandate.
When it was initiated by Geoffrey Palmer in 1991, the Resource Management Act was originally intended to provide a single piece of legislation for the management of land, water, soil and air throughout New Zealand. It replaced and/or repealed 78 statutes and regulations, and amended numerous others. Up until 1986, all environmental planning was administered through the Town and Country Planning Act 1977 and the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1941. The large Ministry of Works or the Forest Service administered almost all policy and legislation relating to the environment. Planning processes were slow, bureaucratic and unresponsive to environmental issues. Change happened rapidly in the late 1980s. The Environment Act (1986) established the Ministry for the Environment, followed a year later by the Department of Conservation (DoC). Then local governments were reformed, and in 1989 the number of decision-making bodies was reduced from 800 to 86, and Regional Councils were charged with the job of managing environmental issues. All of this, it was hoped, would allow for economic growth while protecting and sustaining those important resources that New Zealanders value – the forests, lakes, rivers, beaches and native species – the natural environment that we advertise overseas withy such pride.
Instead, the New Zealand environment has witnessed a rapid deterioration since the introduction of the RMA:
• 35% (2788 species) of all our native plant and animal species now listed as being at risk of extinction
• 60% of freshwater fish species listed as threatened or extinct
• more than 66% of all land ecosystems are classed as threatened
• only 10% of the pre European wetlands now remain
• 43% of monitored river sites regularly fail to meet bathing standards
• important lowland forest and wetland ecosystems are almost completely lost
• the rate of loss of indigenous vegetation has been higher in the last decade than at any other time, due primarily to the intensification of dairying.
• There are more than 8000 undocumented toxic waste sites throughout New Zealand posing an unknown danger
In the face of the evidence is it still tenable to believe that Government is working in the best interests of the environment or is taking seriously its commitment to sustaining environmental resources for future generations?
The answer has to be a resounding NO! The question then, is how has it come about that our policies and processes for environmental sustainability have become so much a question image rather than reality? How come that the brand has become more important than the product quality? How can it be that our Prime Minister can say that, “If anybody goes down to New Zealand and looks at our environmental credentials and looks at New Zealand, then I think that for the most part, in comparison with the rest of the world we are 100% pure”?
The answer has to be not that government (any government) per se is willfully setting out to destroy the New Zealand biosphere, but that it is enmeshed in an ideological and economic system that leaves no alternative. Money is power, and the (often international) power that accrues to corporations, industrial giants and conglomerates ensures that both national and local governments dance to the tunes played in the key of free-market capitalism. Rarely are the community ever invited to compose the tune. Theirs is the right only to dance to music composed elsewhere.
• How else are we to explain the Environment Court dismissing an appeal against the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s decision to renew water and air resource consents for Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) and Norske Skog Tasman for a further 25 years. Allowing it to take water from and to discharge its effluent into the Tarawera River (labeled “Black Drain Tarawera” by Greenpeace)
• How else are we to explain the destruction of the natural river ecosystem through the construction of the Clyde Dam to provide cheap electricity (compared to that paid by every NZer) for an internationally-owned aluminium smelter?
• How else are we to explain the Government’s eagerness to lease deep sea oil and gas drilling rights of the pristine East Coast when it has neither the economic nor infrastructure resources to contain or clean up a major spill similar to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated much of the Gulf of Mexico?
• How else are we to explain Trade Minister Tim Groser’s need to placate Chinese demands to purchase New Zealand farms as part of our Free Trade Agreement, while his Minister of Finance, Bill English tells us he is less concerned at foreign ownership of assets than he is about foreign ownership of debt. (NZ Herald 10th August 2011, p. B2)
• How else are we to explain the government’s support for a Solid Energy (another SOE) proposal to build a $25 million lignite briquetting plant in Southland in the face of almost universal condemnation?
• How else are we to explain the proposed 85 metre high dam on the Mohikinui River – one of the last accessible and most beautiful of the wild rivers in New Zealand - home to around 20 threatened animal species – to supply an SOE, Meridian Energy, with more profitable electricity. (and could it be an accident that the government has announced plans to sell off its profitable SOEs if elected?)
• How else are we to explain the withdrawal of Chapter 13 of the National Policy Statement on Fresh Water Management in the face of dairy industry and farming industry pressure?
• How else are we to explain the ability of Trustpower (another electricity-generating SOE) seek to extend its ability to halve the flow of the Rangitaiki River from its Matahina dam? As one observer noted:
“Bay of Plenty Regional Council (previously known as: Environment Bay of Plenty), the guardians of our natural resources have relied entirely upon third party interest groups to defend the Rangitaiki river from becoming what resembles a stream with rotting vegetation lining it’s banks, as seen during trials run in December 2009. Groups and individuals representing the varied river users that have made submissions were forced to employ consultants and legal representatives to help prepare a suitable defense for what has been labeled by many as a “very slick and impressive” application by Trust Power. Trust Power has spent Millions on preparing their case with the defense being left to individuals and public interest groups to fund. “Trust power is in a strong position with the chance of success being better than 50%” is how the case was described by one submitter who did not wish to be named.
Such instances demonstrate the undeniable asymmetry of power that attends the RMA consent processes where impecunious local communities must battle with highly paid corporate legal machines employed by very powerful conglomerates.
These are but a few examples of the instances in which the RMA has failed to protect environmental or community interests. Although the RMA has been portrayed by successive governments as a balancing between conservation and development issues, it is difficult not to conclude in the context just cited that the government (and the RMA legislation itself) are heavily biased in favour of development and big business. In both the day-to-day ways in which the Act is administered, and in the structuring of the process that favours those with power, influence and money it almost always ensures that development wins at the expense of conservation.
Poor gazetting, strategic timing, the brevity of available time and direct exclusion (see lead photo) from public consultations are among the methods by which regional councils, in collusion corporate entities ensure that community objections are minimised or ignored and that the system of resource exploitation and pollution can continue unhindered in the interests of private shareholder profitability. Similarly, when reviews of the system are initiated, their terms of reference are often so circumscribed as to render conclusions that might lead to real change unlikely. When elected in 2008, the National government set up a reform group to review the RMA. Its terms of reference were to:
• Raise New Zealand’s productivity and economic growth
• Increase the flexibility of the economy to promote confidence and investment
• Provide for sound environmental policies and practices
It doesn’t take a degree in policy studies to realise that the parameters of the review were to be largely economic and tied to New Zealand’s global marketplace. In 2009, the government announced the Resource Management Amendment Bill which many environmentalists believe will lead to a return to “Think Big” policies that fast-track large developments by further excluding community participation and involvement. In the process, our native species and our unique biodiversity are sacrificed to “bottom line” accounting.
“New Zealand’s determination to maximise income from farming and forestry means that for too long the protection of native species has been accorded far too low a priority. There is no cheque at the end of the season for not draining a wetland, and because we do not assess the value in dollar terms, it is too easy to think natural habitats therefore are of no value. A UN report has put the global cost of deforestation at up to US$5 trillion a year – and that was before the recent slide in the value of the US currency. The same report estimated the 22,000ha tussock catchment of the Te Papanui Conservation Park in Otago provided water that would cost $136 million to bring in from outside the area. The point of these figures is that until and unless we put a dollar value on environmental attributes such as clean air and fresh water, we seem doomed to at best take them for granted or overlook them completely.”
Add to these examples the failure of the Government to curb farm-related pollution and the picture is decidedly gloomy. The recent (2011) National Policy Statement on Fresh Water has been watered down so that regional authorities now have almost a further 20 years (until December 2030) to implement water quality policies when all of the research indicates that of nitrate uptake from intensive dairy farming is accelerating (above).
Responding to pressure from dairy and farming groups, the new policy allocates a further $400 million to new irrigation projects and only a measly $15 million (over 2 years) for water quality clean-up – a measure surely designed to promote a land-rush to farming intensification before the 2030 deadline is reached, with unimaginable consequences for water quality. The downstream (no pun intended) costs for the average New Zealander of this arrangement is substantial. There is the cost of irrigation for the agricultural sector that must be paid out of taxes, and there are the eventual clean-up costs of our rivers and lakes plus the costs associated with monitoring and enforcing compliances. The voluntary scheme promoted by the industry has clearly not worked and the its unheralded profits have been acquired at the expense of every New Zealander. So now we are being asked in this proposed legislation, to sanction a similar regulatory system over the EEZ, without any significant changes or safeguards, with no determined criteria of environmental safety, with no cost-effective measures to ensure compliance or restorative work.
A great deal of the Minister’s argument in favour of this legislation rests upon the assumption of balancing costs and benefits. Yet it is notoriously difficult to estimate either the environmental costs or the environmental benefits of projects that involve offshore investors. At the most, New Zealanders will only receive a small percentage (4% has been suggested by some analysts) of the profits from offshore drilling. In exchange the cost to New Zealanders in the event of an environmental crisis would be inestimable. To give but one example, we might look at the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill off Louisiana. This year, twelve months after the disaster, Gulf shrimp fishermen are almost all unemployed and shrimp catches have been decimated. Where boats were bringing in 10,000 pounds of shrimp a day, that total has plummeted to 41,000 pounds in a whole month and catches are uniformly down by at least 80% across the whole Gulf Coast with some fishermen calling it the worst season he had seen since he began shrimping in 1950.
Add to the loss of earnings the costs of stress-related illness, hospitalisation, marriage break-ups he idea that such a dramatic impact could be somehow balanced against the taxes from BP profits seems laughable. Given that the proposed drilling area of the Raukumara Basin is three times the depth of the Gulf Deepwater Horizon well, and that New Zealand has fewer, less immediate and less sophisticated resources to counteract such a spill the risks seem to be much greater in a new Zealand context. Furthermore, the Minister has suggested that drilling will not be sanctioned unless drilling companies undertake to insure against the complete cost of mitigating a spill. The costs of such insurance will, I believe, be prohibitive and either the Oil companies will pull out, or the Minister will be obliged to lower his requirements.
Yet even without an actual spill the arguments against trying to balance economic and environmental concerns seems dubious. A recent report The State of the Gulf, by the Hauraki Gulf Forum concluded that the Gulf was deteriorating very rapidly along almost every indicator, and suggested that New Zealand needed to “move away from an economy based on exploitation”. The idea that Auckland had to balance environmental concerns with economic concerns was “flawed”. If ecosystems were returned to a healthy state, it would improve the outlook for tourism, recreational and commercial fisheries and farming. Investment in a Gulf Marine Park would have a direct benefit to industry.
“It’s not about balancing… International studies show that the benefit of maintaining healthy environments outweighs short-term economic use by five-to-one.”
Seen in the context of the Tourism vote, the self-proclaimed need for balancing is a mythology. The destruction of the environment and its impact on the crucial economy of our tourism industry is never taken into account. Tourism is important for New Zealand’s future economic growth. It contributes $18.6 billion to the economy each year — 9% of New Zealand’s gross domestic product. It is also an important source of employment. One in every 10 New Zealanders works in the tourism industry. Tourism is our largest export sector. International visitors contribute $8.3 billion to the economy each year, which accounts for 19.2% of export earnings. Unlike other export sectors, which make products and sell them overseas, tourism brings its customers to New Zealand.
Already the impact of the relatively minor spill from the MV Rena in the Bay of Plenty is beginning to have an impact on tourism numbers. Hotels in Waihau Bay which are normally booked out at this time of year have had wholesale cancellations and are empty.
When we compare the costs and benefits of economic development through extraction processes with those of tourism, there appears to be a direct contradiction in our perceptions. The product we are selling is not milk powder or oil, but New Zealand itself. So how do we brand this product?
For the last ten years, New Zealand has marketed itself overseas as “100% Pure New Zealand”. The strategy has been very successful. In late 2010, New Zealand had moved from 4th to 3rd “strongest brand country in the world” (behind Canada and Australia). Why, then, would Tourism New Zealand and a Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Tourism want to change this brand to “New Zealand 100% Pure You”? Clearly, the 100% Pure New Zealand brand had started to fail, as evidenced by a 2009 article in the Guardian where Fred Pearce said:
“My prize for the most shameless two fingers to the global community goes to New Zealand, a country that sells itself round the world as "clean and green"…. But the latest UN statistics show its emissions of greenhouse gases up by 22%, or a whopping 39% if you look at emissions from fuel burning alone. They are today 60% higher than those of Britain, per head of population. Among industrialised nations, they are only exceeded by Canada, the US, Australia and Luxembourg. In recent years a lot of Brits have headed for Christchurch and Wellington in the hope of a green life in a country where they filmed the Lord of the Rings. But it's a green mirage…. Where do all these emissions come from? New Zealand turns out to be mining ever more filthy brown coal to burn in its power stations. It has the world's third highest rate of car ownership. And, with more cows than people, the country's increasingly intensive agricultural sector is responsible for approaching half the greenhouse gas emissions.”
Such sentiments, especially from such a reputable source as the Guardian are a clear indication that the branding game is up – that our tendency to preference image over substance has finally begun to catch up with us. All of the marketing speak/spin in the world doesn’t hide the fact that our national environmental policies have failed the tourism industry.
It is against this context that the intention to open up the EEZ for extractive economic development is indeed foolhardy, since it further emphasises the actual or potential degradation to our major export product.
The undoubtedly concealed agenda of this legislation is not, as expressed, to protect the environment (since clearly the RMA on which it is modelled has failed to do so) but rather to open up New Zealand’s resources – in particularly our oil and gas supplies - to foreign investment. Irrespective of the specific costs or benefits to New Zealand specifically, the cost to the planet will be enormous, and this cost is not something that will figure in the balance sheet when the Minister is making his regulatory decisions. Indeed, it will do nothing to assist New Zealand in meeting its rather modest promises under the Kyoto Protocols. Note, for instance that New Zealand:
• increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% since signing the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. The protocol binds countries to a 5% average reduction on their 1990 levels over 5 years.
• has an emissions total 60% higher than Britain per head of population
• has the 12th highest emissions in the world per head of population
• has the 9th highest rating of household waste
• has the 11th highest energy consumption among the 20 OECD countries
• has the 6th highest ecological footprint in the world
• has the 8th highest car ownership rate in the world
• has one of the worst public transport systems in the world
The proposal to mine the deep offshore reserves of fossil fuels will only add to this abysmal record.
If we collectively continue to produce CO2 at our current rate we will accelerate the process of global warming significantly. Already the Arctic Ice sheet is melting at an unprecedented rate and the North West Passage is ice free in Summer for the first time in millions of years. This warming and disappearance of the permafrost is already starting to release large amounts of methane gas from the exposed tundra as well as from that trapped for millennia in the ice. Methane is a 13 times more powerful greenhouse gas than Co2. Current best estimates are that if these so-called “feedback mechanisms” are not prevented immediately we can look forward to a global temperature rise of between 6-8 degrees Celsius by the mid-Century, rendering the planet well on its way to being uninhabitable.
Already the modest temperature increases we have experienced over the last twenty years have shifted the climate to herald storms and weather crises of unprecedented frequency and ferocity as assessed by the international insurance community. (see below)
Source: : Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Geo Risks research, NatCatSERVICE
The costs of these weather “events” are, of course, not factored into the Minister’s regulatory decision-making. There is some speculation among the scientific community, for instance, that the melting of the polar ice and the redistribution of weight on the biosphere plays a part not only in the easily observable instances of floods, tornadoes etc., but also in the less observable relationship to volcanic and earthquake activity. Perhaps the good people of Christchurch are already paying for our previously poor environmental record!
It doesn’t take a rochet scientist to realise what every child knows. In an environment of finite resources the process of perpetual exploitation of resources in the pursuit of increased economic growth can only lead, ultimately to a total depletion. Our economic system has been successfully predicated on continuing economic growth for a very long time. It is only now that we are beginning to come to terms with the immediate and eventual costs. We cannot continue to grow, to consume our resources in an unsustainable way if we are to leave a planet worth living in for our children. Nor do we have the luxury of time. I will not see the eventual shift in the global climate, but my daughter Josephine will. For her sake, I am prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent this legislation from becoming law or to have it rescinded should it succeed. We need legislation, it is true. But we need legislation the prevent rather than to facilitate the extraction of these very difficult to reach fossil fuels. Think about this.
We sit on an Earth Bank. The Government is telling us all the time that we have to reduce our debt - that we have to save. Yet here they are preparing to sell our resources for a pittance, rather than to keep them in the bank where they will only accrue greater and greater value. Now is not the time to do this. Nor is it the time to sell off other State assets which are bringing a good and immediate return to the average New Zealander.
I entreat the Minister to abandon this legislation and instead, at this time of undoubted crisis, to embark upon a coalition, cross-party attempt to reach a consensus on our environmental policies of the future – a policy shaped through dialogue and consultation with all New Zealanders.
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