Mangroves Bill works through system
Parliament is back in session and the Mangroves Bill I sponsored on behalf of our local councils is still working its way through the select committee system. It’s a slower process than I’d like but reflects the complicated nature of what the Thames Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils are seeking to achieve.
Effectively the bill, if passed, would create a situation to bypass the provisions of the Resource Management Act and allow the two Councils to formulate their own mangrove management plans. Doing so would mean the Waikato Regional Council would no longer be the involved.
That’s a pretty big step in terms of carving out an exclusion to the RMA and it’s fair to say not everyone thinks doing so is a good idea. Back in March of this year the select committee travelled to Thames and heard submissions from local people and organisations both in favour of the proposal and against it.
Since then officials from the Ministry for the Environment have been advising MPS on the select committee and discussions have taken place between the two councils and the regional council. I hope the select committee will be able to report back to Parliament within the next couple of months. Once that happens Parliament as a whole will debate the bill and a decision will be made.
At the time of writing there still hasn’t been any decision made by the new Government about the future of rescue helicopter services for the Coromandel. We were promised a decision by early August and we’re still waiting. Summer will soon be here. Locals and visitors alike need to know that rescue helicopter services in our region won’t be cut. If anything we need greater coverage and especially so over the summer peak. We’re not alone. People in Taupo¯ , Rotorua and Te Anau are also at risk with proposals to cut services in those communities too. It simply isn’t good enough for the new government to be even considering chopping chopper services. Lives will be at risk if a much supported and needed service is reduced or cut completely from regions like ours.
While the government dismisses business confidence surveys as ‘junk’, it’s official the economy is now projected to grow no more than 2 per cent. That’s a big drop compared to what we’ve become used to in recent years. We’ve gone from having the second highest levels of business confidence in the OECD to now having the second lowest. The only thing that’s changed to bring about that reversal has been the government.
There’s an air of chaos and confusion in the new government. They don’t understand business and continue to hit businesses with increased costs. Adding to the uncertainty are big changes to industrial relations laws that give trade unions lots more power and return us to the bad old days of the 1970s. We’ve had more strikes in the last nine months than during the last nine years. Expect more to come.