Greens on RMA

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has spoken up about National’s proposed Resource Management Act reforms, expressing concerns that ‘people’ and ‘neighbours’ won’t get to have their say adequately.

Greens: RMA reforms will ‘lock people out of having their say’

The Green Party has criticised proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), saying the overhaul would leave many people out of the consultation loop.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the changes will leave too many people without the means to voice their opinion on changes in their neighbourhoods.

“The major part [of the legislation] will be locking people out of consultation and having a say,” Ms Turei told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

She says even under the current laws, only a relatively small number of people are actually involved in the process.

“More than 90 percent of the consents that are issued under the RMA are not notified, there’s only a really small proportion where people get a chance to have a say about what happens in their neighbourhood and we think their right to have a say should be protected.

“There are people who are affected by the decisions that other people make, they should have the right to say [something] about that.”

“We’re talking about people’s neighbourhoods; there are big issues in Auckland at the moment about the nature of development in Auckland City – should Aucklanders be locked out of having a say about what happens in their city?”

Turei seems to be confusing two things – people having their say (there’s many ways they can do that) and potentially bogging down RMA applications because some people want to stop anything changing in their neighbourhood.

This is already a real problem here in Turei’s electorate of Dunedin North, where people oppose building on the other side of the harbour to where they live (and other places) because they don’t like the look of it.

And it could get worse.

The Dunedin City Council is currently proposing a ‘second generation’ district plan. A proposal in that is to designate large areas of the city above the 100 m contour as a ‘significant landscape zone’. And thatb will significantly restrict what you can do with your land if it’s above 100 m in those zones.

A lot of Dunedin is over 100 m.

I have a special interest in this because I own properties that straddle the 100 m contour.

Under the new proposals if I want to build a building larger than 60 square metres I will need resource consent.

If I want tp build a house higher than single story or with paint greater than 30% luminosity or plant particular species of trees or a number of other things I will need notified resource consent.

So neighbours and people on the other side of the harbour will be able to have their say. And if past experience is anything to go by people will oppose.

The local Green dominated council and the Green Party want everyone to be happy before anything is built, and if someone doesn’t like the look of something in the distance then they can do more than have their say – they can stop people doing normal sorts of things with their own land.

There’s a vast difference between environmental protections (important) and allowing neighbours to have their say and prevent people douing what is not out of the ordinary on their own land.

This illustrates a major problem many people have with the Greens.

Just about everyone wants to protect the environment as much as possible, so having someone sticking up for environmental issues is great.

But most people don’t want severe restrictions on what they can do with their own land and property.

And they don’t want extreme Greenies preventing them from doing fairly normal and reasonable things with their own property just because the extreme Greenies have what they want and don’t like the look of something else.

No Trudeau in NZ Greens co-leadership

The left wing hope has moved on from UK Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn to Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

In Chris Trotters quest to find “some Trudeauesque magic” to inspire a real left wing victory (or perhaps that could be a really left wing victory) in 2017 he considers Green co-leader James Shaw but quickly moves on to Winston Peters.

From his latest column at Stuff – Chris Trotter: Can Labour find someone to weave some Trudeauesque magic?:

Inevitably, those New Zealanders favouring a change of government in 2017 are scouring the ranks of opposition parties for a Kiwi politician capable of bringing some Trudeau magic to our own political arena.

Not surprisingly Trotter is one of those favouring a change of government, and he is scouring the ranks of opposition parties.

The Greens male co-leader, James Shaw, certainly shares much with Trudeau in terms of projecting youthful energy and good looks. Less certain, however, is his willingness to adopt the Liberal leader’s strategy of inviting voters from across the political spectrum to join his nationwide crusade for “real change”.

And, even if he was up to persuading his colleagues to leave the the safety of their eco-socialist strongholds, and embrace the political centre, would he be able to persuade the electorate that the Greens, in office, would remain politically centred?

It is the curse of the Greens to be perceived as enthusiastic promoters of a rather narrow ideological agenda. Historically, the Canadian Liberal Party has attracted solid voter support across the whole electorate. It’s a trick New Zealand’s Greens have yet to master.

There’s a certain amount of irony in Trotter cursing the Greens for being “enthusiastic promoters of a rather narrow ideological agenda” but I guess Trotter swings between almost manic enthusiasm and despondency at the hopelessness of his dreams.

NZ First, by contrast, has never ceased presenting itself as a party with the broadest possible voter appeal. Indeed, in its early days, back in the early 1990s, its support rivalled that of the National Party’s.

Unashamedly populist in his political instincts, NZ First’s long-time leader, Winston Peters, would dearly love to replicate Trudeau’s utter trouncing of John Key’s good “mate”, Stephen Harper. Unfortunately, youthfulness is not a quality many people associate with NZ

Many people probably see a few other qualities lacking in Peters and NZ First too. It’s unlikely to see him do a Trudeau in New Zealand in 2017.

While James Shaw is undeniably ambitious it’s a huge task to try and triple Green support.

And Trotter ignores a major feature of Green leadership.

It’s not Shaw who will be waving the Green flag next election, it will be Metiria Turei+James Shaw, presuming they are both co-leaders then.

The Green system of co-leadership limits the chance of a charismatic leader, because their two leaders must share duties and exposure.

What’s Metiria up to?

I’ve got the impression that Metiria Turei is contributing less to the Green effort in Parliament.

Comparing the number of questions in Question Time in recent months:


  • June – 4
  • July – 2
  • August – 3
  • September – 0


  • June – 5
  • July – 3
  • August – 2
  • September – 4

News/Press releases/Speeches for September:

  • Shaw – 8 (last on 17th)
  • Turei – 2 (last on 9th)

Also 5 (Delahunty, Genter), 4 (Roche, Sage), 3 (Browning, Clendon, Hughes), 2 (Hague), 1 (Graham, Logie, Norman).

Shaw was interviewed as Green co-leader on The Nation on 19 September. Turei was last on The Nation in June.

Turei is less prominent in a Google news search with her first few hits spread over two weeks and 39 hits over the last month:


Shaw has more current activity

ShawGoogleNewsIt could be that Turei is taking a bit of a breather from active politics, or she could be doing more that’s not getting publicised.

But it seems like Shaw has been significantly more prominent than Turei lately.

Green gender imbalance

When Russel Norman leaves Parliament at the end of October he will be replaced by next on the Green list, Marama Davidson. This means that the current 7/7 gender split will change to 8 female MPs versus 6 male MPs .

This shouldn’t be an issue but the Greens usually try hard to maintain gender balance.

To an extent it’s a quirk of a male MP resignig when the next on the list is female. But it could have been avoided by getting Davidson to stand aside to let a male replace Norman. There’s a precedent for this sort of list manipulation as two people on the Green list stood aside to enable Norman to replace Nandor Tanczos in 2008.

But Davidson is ambitious and is very keen to become an MP. She is rated highly in Green circles and they would have been expecting her to get into Parliament last year from number fifteen on their list, except that the Greens failed to improve their vote enough.

Davidson was understandable excikted by yesterday’s news.

was just stand up mighty for my ! I’m honoured up the wahzoo to be the 14th MP. Hugely thankful to so many of you <3

There has been a lot of excitement and congratulations.

Formidable wahine toa female MPs

So Davdson is highlighting her and their wahineness and Maoriness – I’m not sure that Delahunty would be thrilled with being separated like that.

And Marama Fox of the Maori Party might like to point out that Greens don’t have the only wahine Maori MPs.

Same for Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall, Poto Williams and Meka Whatiri (Labour). And Paula Bennett, Hekia Parata and Jo Hayes (National). And Ria Bond (NZ First).

I don’t have a problem with this. Any party can have any mix of MPs they like. But for a party that makes an issue of promoting gender and race balance this seems to be a lapse of discipline.

Three wahine Maori MPs out of fourteen is 21.4% is about three times the population proportion.

There’s a total of twelve wahine Maori MPs (that are obvious to me) which is about 10% – about 15% of the New Zealand population is Maori so about 7.5% will be female.

Metiria Turei added her take on it:

Metiria Turei retweeted Alan

Or or or There will be 8 women in our caucus of 14 soon. All wahine toa.

So Turei is promoting them as representing strong, female, Maori, and seems to be applauding the female imbalance. This seems contrary to the Green ideal of equal female/male representation.

There are valid arguments for increased female and Maori representation to make up for past under-representation and to overcome entrenched non-Maori male domination.

But a party can’t be both gender and ethnically balanced and also promote and applaud imbalance without looking like their ideals can be bent when it suits some of them.

Green’s gender and ethnic imbalance is not a problem – unless balance is an ideal that mustn’t be compromised.

What now with refugees?

After a day of pressure from all directions it looks like the Government may revise it’s resistance to increasing New Zeealand’s refugee quota.

While I think that increasing the numbert of refugees we take in is overdue this raisies a number of questions. It’s not that world refugees are a new phenonenom. There have been millions of refugees stuck in camps around the world for years.

A drowned three year old in Turkey is certainly sad, but thousands of refugees have drowned already this year. Every time another child drowns is there going to be pressure to increase our refugee intake?

Every time there’s a war somewhere i the world are we going to be pressurred into increasing our refugee intake?

Should sudden media and social media consciences dictate our refugee policy?

Andrew Little and Metiria Turei have lambasted Key – how much would they increase our refugee intake?

A compassionate response is ok to an extent, but there must be limits and there must be some level of common sense.

Setting an emotionally reactioanry precedent is going to increase the number and intensity of emotional reactionary campaigns to set refugee and immigration policy by popular demand.

The refugee issue is far more complex than stoking up a bit of public emotion.

Green rhetoric versus reality

Greens have yet another Parliamentary inquiry under way, this one into selected special needs education. ODT reports: Limited scope of special needs inquiry criticised.

The inquiry, announced earlier this month, will focus on improving the learning experience of children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorders.

Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said, ”So many students are missing out on education because their learning differences are not identified early enough and help is not made available. We want to change the system so every child has a fair go.”

However Raewyn Alexander, principal of Dunedin special needs school Sara Cohen, said she did not understand why other ”challenges” such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy were not included in the inquiry.

”If they want a fair go for every child, why have they only focused on those three specific challenges? If they want a fair go for every child, then they should be asking for an inquiry for all kids with needs, not just those three aspects of special needs.”

Alexander points out a basic problem with the Green approach. Selecting three disorders only for their inquiry is odd anyway, but it’s at odds with their “We want to change the system so every child has a fair go” rheotric.

Dunedin Green Party MP and co-leader Metiria Turei said the inquiry needed to be ”fairly clear in its scope” and restricting the investigation to three disorders would keep the focus on understanding what was lacking and what further resources needed to be provided so every child in New Zealand had a ”fair go” at school.

Turei re-emphasises the contradiction. It’s typical Green marketing practice to package things into soundbites of three, in this case choosing just three disorders to investigate. But that clashes with a general Green theme of giving every child a “fair go”.

”We want to hear from families and schools about what they need and what is clearly lacking, we want to hear about all those experiences so we can get a handle on the scale of the problem,” she said.

Except they only want to get a handle on only some experiences, ignoring the overall scale of any problem.

Ms Turei had been invited to Sara Cohen school events on numerous occasions, Mrs Alexander said, and had failed to ever respond.

”We find that pretty disappointing because of her party and also because she is a local,” Mrs Alexander said.

Ouch. Do Greens only want to hear from families and schools who fit the scope of their packaged inquiries?

Turei is a Dunedin based MP although stands in Dunedin North and Sara Cohen School is in Caversham which is in Dunedin South.

Maybe Greens should have an inquiry into why their rhetoric doesn’t seem to match reality.

The difficulty with the Left’s leadership

I thionk there’s two key things that many voters look for in political parties and in potential coalitions – a perception of competence, and capable and strong leadership.

The Left have problems in particular on leadership.

So far Andrew Little has failed to inspire as a leader. This is a significant problem for what should be the lead party in a potential coalition.

Winston Peters seems to be setting his sights high. It’s been reported as high as being Prime Minister for at least part of the next term. Peters seems to despise inexperienced wannabees leapfrogging his seniority. He seems to see himself as the de facto Leader of the Opposition.

New Zealand First is currently the smallest of the three Opposition parties. The Greens would presumably and understandably not be happy if Peters took a greater leadership role than them in a three way coalition.

But the Greens have a problem too – their dual leadeership might suit them in at a party level, but at a coalition level it dilutes their leadership.

Peters would not be happy sharing deputy leadership with two Green leaders who were at primary school when he first entered Parliament in 1978 (Shaw was five, Turei was 8).

It’s quite likely that the next election will be contested by John Key, undisputed leader of National, versus Little, Peters, Turei and Shaw, all competing for ascendancy.

When it comes to a leadership contest four versus one could be difficult to sell.

Greens reshuffle spokesperson roles

The Green party has announced a reshuffle of spokesperson roles following the election of James Shaw as new co-leader.

Shaw has taken on Climate Change, with Metiria Turei continuing her focus on Inequality.

Most notable is the promotion of Julie Anne Genter to the Finance role, taking over from Russel Norman. Genter has been one of the Greens’ most capable and prominent spokespeople in her previous role on Transport (which she retains).

Interestingly Genter is still only ranked ninth in the Green pecking order, having dropped a place from last year’s list after the promotion of Shaw.

New portfolio line-up for the Green Party

New portfolios
MP Portfolio
Metiria Turei Inequality

Building and Housing (inc. Social Housing, HNZ)

Maori Affairs

James Shaw Climate Change

Economic Development

Russel Norman Trade

Justice (electoral)

National Intelligence and Security (inc. NZSIS, GCSB)

Kevin Hague Health (inc. ACC, Sport & Recreation)


Rainbow Issues

Eugenie Sage Environment

Primary Industries

Land Information

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Earthquake Commission

Gareth Hughes Energy and Resources

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

Science and Innovation



Wellington Issues

Catherine Delahunty Education (inc. Novopay)


Human Rights

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Kennedy Graham Foreign Affairs (inc. Defence, Disarmament, Customs)

Veterans Affairs

Senior Citizens

Julie Anne Genter Finance (inc. Revenue, SOEs)



Mojo Mathers Commerce and Consumer Affairs (inc. Regulatory Reform)

Disability Issues

Animal Welfare

Jan Logie Social Development (inc. Women, Community and Voluntary Sector)

State Services

Local Government (inc. Civil Defence)

Rainbow Issues

Dave Clendon Tourism

Small Business

Criminal Justice (inc. Courts, Corrections, Police)


Denise Roche Workplace Relations and Safety


Immigration, Pacific Peoples, Ethnic Affairs

Internal Affairs (inc. Statistics, Arts Culture & Heritage, Ministerial Services, Racing, Gambling)

Auckland Issues

Steffan Browning Organics




Food Safety

Greens confuse democratic process with democratic votes

Despite what some try to claim he number of submissions in a democratic process is not a measure of popular support.

Submissions are not votes.

A high number of submissions promoting one view has become common, but they often mean that one view has been organised and promoted with mass submissions.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei recently sent out an email that was predictably critical of the Government emissions target announcement but her argument is a bad example of the confusion of democratic process versus democratic votes.

Here are five reasons why this weak target should be a concern for all New Zealanders:

  1. This target undermines our democratic process. Back in May, thousands of New Zealanders participated in the Government’s climate consultation. An overwhelming majority (99% of those who specified a target) asked for a more ambitious target than what the Government is proposing. John Key’s administration has effectively ignored almost everyone who participated in the consultation, from doctors and business leaders to scientists and conservation groups.

For a start this doesn’t even give the total number of submissions, she just claims “an overwhelming majority (99% of those who specified a target)”.

How many submissions were there?

How many submissions didn’t specify a target?

But claiming “this target undermines our democratic process” is based either on ignorance of democracy (which is alarming from a party that claims to be more democratic than any other) or it is deliberately deceptive.

Submissions are an important  part of the democratic process, a means of giving the public a say.

But organising mass submissions has become common practice from parties like the Greens and also allied activists:

Like Generation Zero: Use our quick submission tool to call on the Government to commit to a pathway towards zero CO2 emissions by 2050 or earlier, and call for a global zero carbon target in the Paris deal.

This is our chance to call for a plan to Fix Our Future. Take a few minutes to add your voice by submitting below.

It’s easy to have your say. Just fill in your details and tick all the points you agree with.

Personalising your submission will really add weight to it so please add your own thoughts and comments at the end of the form.

In an open democracy like ours groups are free to organise mass submissions, a form of group speak.

But claiming that the number of submissions is some sort of democratic measure of support is an abuse of democracy, or ignorance of how democracy works.Metiria Turei

Either way a party leader should know better than to make claims like Turei has.

Are the Greens confused about democratic processes? Or are they deliberately trying to confuse?

Native Affairs political debate

There’s been a lot of controversy around Maori Television lately with accusations that Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell intefered with and was involved in the calling off of a political debate.

There has also been an exodus of Maori TV journalists.

Native Affairs has often been an interesting look at Maori orientated politics. Tonight the debate that was supposedly called off will air – 8.30 pm on Maori Television.

So it’s my last show. Thought I’d invite some politicians on and talk about some controversial stuff

The promo says:

On Native Affairs we host our first political debate of 2015. Our leading Maori politicians are live in studio to discuss all the big issues.

Whanau Ora. Kohanga Reo. First right of refusal. And Maori land.

I believe that Te Ururoa Flavell will be there as well as Metiria Turei (Greens), Winston Peters (NZ First) and Alfred Ngaro (National).


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