Man­groves Bill works through sys­tem

Coastal News - - News - By SCOTT SIMPSON MP

Man­groves

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.

Res­cue He­li­copter

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.

Slow­ing econ­omy

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.

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