Cross-party support for earthquake legislation

Parliamentary parties are working together on emergency legislation to help sort things out after the earthquakes.

NZ Herald: Emergency quake legislation on the way after cross-party meeting

The Government has today met with opposition parties to discuss what emergency legislation could be introduced to skirt usual consenting processes and aid the earthquake recovery.

A spokeswoman for Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed the approach.

“There was a cross-party meeting this morning to discuss legislative options but it is very early days.”

Labour Party leader Andrew Little, speaking to the Herald from Kaikoura, has indicated his party will support the emergency legislation.

“The Government put up the things they have in mind. All the parties were there. There are more meetings to go before legislation is introduced, which the plan is to be next week.

“We have indicated support, subject to appropriate checks and balances…but our people who were [at the meeting] described it as constructive.”

It’s good to see this inclusiveness, putting the needs of the affected people and regions first.

Little said he believed the Government had learned lessons after the introduction of emergency legislation following the Canterbury earthquakes.

“I think it [emergency legislation] is natural in order to get stuff done – particularly now you have a town the size of Kaikoura and its importance to the tourist industry totally isolated at the moment, you do want some expedited powers.

Little has taken a responsible approach to the earthquakes, and has been included from the start by the Government in assessing the damage and the problems.

The Whale Watch boat berths have been uplifted and can now only be used at high tide.

Yesterday Little said that repairs to the harbour at Kaikoura should be fast tracked rather than go through a lengthy consent process so that tourist and fishing businesses can resume as soon as possible.

But there may be some tensions.

The road freighting industry has lobbied the Government not to be “sensitive” about repairing SH1 and to bulldoze rubble into the sea.

Some of the slips have already covered sea shores. If they were left to weather naturally there would be further subsidence into the sea, it is part of normal erosion processes. But:

Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today that view was shortsighted.

“Fixing the road and rail links is obviously quite critical and urgent, but dumping thousands of tonnes of rubble into the sea risks killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

“Nature-based tourism, whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and fisheries like the cray and paua fisheries are absolutely critical to Kaikoura’s economy.”

Whales and dolphins shouldn’t be an issue, they are found further out to sea.

Seals congregate and breed on the rocky shores. They will have been affected but their numbers have increased markedly over that last fifty years so should have no trouble re-establishing themselves.

The crayfish and paua fisheries have already been badly affected by the natural affects of the earthquakes, in the main by uplift of shallow shores.

“We don’t want to reestablish the transport link at the expense of a healthy coastal marine environment and healthy fisheries.”.

In the main it’s unlikely that pushing slip debris a bit further out into the sea will have a major effect. Obviously they will have to take care if any of the slips are in ecologically sensitive areas, but the vast majority of the coastline will remain unaffected by slip debris.

It will be good if all parties are on board with emergency legislation.

How right wing am I?

It has been implied that I’m a right wing blogger going by this The Daily Blog headline:

Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods

That’s a post by Lynn Prentice but he may not have written the headline, as he reveals in a comment at Public Address:

The Daily Blog? So I sent it to them since they were starting the next day.  Looks like they toned down my title, corrected some grammar and typos and put it up.

It would be interesting to see what his choice of title was.

I have often been called right wing  – on left wing blogs.

And I have been called left wing on right wing blogs.

Accusing someone of being of the other wing is a common attempt at abuse, but can also just be through ignorance, as I suspect could be the case here.

It’s common to see people at leftie blogs like The Standard labeling everything they don’t agree with as right wing. David Shearer is accused of being right wing, as is the Labour caucus.

It’s also common to see people at rightie blogs like Kiwiblog labeling everything they don’t agree with as left wing. John Key and National are sometimes described as left wing. Some extreme commenters accuse everyone else at Kiwiblog of being socialists.

How right wing am I?

I don’t do wings.

I have a left arm and a right arm, a left leg and a right leg, a left eye and a right eye, a left hemisphere and a right hemisphere.

I speak from the centre. My heart is slightly to the left.

More seriously, I don’t buy into this political polarity painting, I don’t see things as a left/right divide. Most things are degrees in between.

I look at each issue and judge it on it’s merits. Like most people I see a need for some state assistance and regulation, but see the benefits in private enterprise.

I see the need for both personal responsibility and community responsibilities.

A right wing blogger?

Many participants in the blogosphere find a left orientated or right orientated favourite place. The seem to view other blog places as enemy territory.

But I’ve been a cross-blogger, participating in a wide variety of online forums. The reason why I am more active on right wing blogs is because I’ve been banned or blocked from some of the most prominent left wing blogs – they seem to have less tolerance for alternative views and approaches to blogging.

Here I look to sources from both the left and the right, attempting to get a variety and balance of views.

If I appear to be harder on Labour that’s because I think they deserve it, I have serious concerns about the lack of quality in alternatives to National.

If I appear to be harder on The Standard that’s becasue I think they deserve it – and also because I can challenge people at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil directly and on an even playing field, including Cam and DPF, but I’m banned from The Standard so can’t address general issues and personal attacks there.

I seek and publish views from MPs from across the spectrum.

I’m not left or right, I have cross-party interests.

I’m not a right wing blogger, or a left wing blogger. My niche is as a cross-blogger  – but I don’t very often get cross!