The Thames Coromandel District Council had their spin machine working overtime when it announced in a misleading press release that the Council’s Mangrove Management Bill was “supported by all the parties, apart from the Greens”.
Often, a majority of Members of Parliament vote for even really stupid Local Bills like this one at the First Reading so that the Bill can to be sent to the to the Select Committee and public submissions can be heard.
That First Reading vote does mean that those same members “support” the Bill. All they are doing in voting for a First Reading is to ensure that the public gets a say at the Select Committee.
Judging from many of the speeches there will be a massive number of submissions in opposition to this ridiculous excuse for a law. Expect the Bill to get a very rough ride in the Select Committee and then to be thrown out.
Take for example these quotes from Member’s speeches, some of whom voted for the First Reading – hardly a ringing endorsement
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA
“One of the things that the current process affords that this bill does not is that the plans under the regional council process are certified by qualified experts in this area, obviously supported and backed up by a lot of research. I wonder whether this bill is being promoted purely for administrative ease, rather than looking again at some of the science and information that are informing the contribution that mangroves make to our marine coastal environment.”
Hon RUTH DYSON
“I am concerned that this completely puts aside the processes of the Resource Management Act. The National Government has done that far too often over the last 9 years, and I do not think we should continue to do it.”
“The level of ignorance about the ecological and economic values of mangroves has been a rather alarming display tonight. This bill is fundamentally flawed. It is a massive step backwards, and it puts aside the protection for our environment that exists in the Resource Management Act by overriding the processes that exist for controlling mangroves”
If you rush ahead with allowing the large-scale destruction of mangroves without going through the resource management process, it is a very short-sighted move that could prove extremely expensive in the long run. Mangroves have proven time and time again that they are extremely valuable protection and defence against storm surges because they dissipate wave energy.
Very recently, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment highlighted that the extremely damaging storm surges that can cause massive amounts of erosion in one storm surge, which are currently a 1-in-100-years event, are likely to occur every year with just half a metre of sea level rise. Every year we would have what is currently a 1-in-100-years level storm surge.”
“The ecological ignorance that has been displayed in this House tonight is remarkable. It is remarkable. Those members do not understand anything about our coast. They have written a bill without proper scrutiny and without proper process so that they can facilitate people cutting up mangroves”
Regional Council is “bogeyman”….
but the Council has consented to the removal of mangroves and work is almost complete !
The District Council says in its press release that the main reason for the Bill is because the Regional Council has blocked action on mangroves. Without a hint of irony, the Council then tells us in the next paragraph that:-
“Meanwhile, a resumption of mangrove removal work at Whangamata is getting underway later this month, to start finishing off the consented clearance north of Durrant Drive and from the Moana Anu Anu estuary.
The removal is being done through an existing consent by the Waikato Regional Council, which will see the mangroves removed and then taken out by helicopter or barge for mulching.
So far, 18 hectares has been cleared leaving 4 hectares to be removed under the existing resource consent and clearance programme”
Which all goes to prove that the Resource Management Act is working just fine and that there is absolutely no need for this “special” law. Resource consents for removal of mangroves have been granted where the evidence supports this. The last thing we need is some kangaroo court process which overrides all existing laws.