Greenpeace versus Shane Jones on fishing prosecution and NZ First donors

Shane Jones has always seemed to be an embarrassment waiting to happen for the Government.  He has already ventured into iffy territory for a minister, for example his public attacks on Air New Zealand.

Now he has dived into a dispute with Greenpeace over party donations, which involves a prosecution of a subsidiary  of Talleys, a company that Jones has financial and social links to (Winston Peters also).

NZ Herald: NZ First MP Shane Jones accuses Greenpeace of deliberately tarnishing NZ’s reputation for donations

Quite a confusing headline.

NZ First MP Shane Jones has fired a shot across Greenpeace’s bow, accusing the organisation of deliberately tarnishing New Zealand’s international fishing reputation just to fundraise.

But Greenpeace’s New Zealand Executive Director Russel Norman fired back, saying Jones was trying to distract the public from the fact he has accepted donations from fishing company Talley’s.

Norman said this should preclude him from contributing to fisheries policies.

The war of words erupted after a Greenpeace press release implied Jones should be withdrawn from any debate around fisheries because of donations he had received from Talley’s.

Financial links between Talleys and NZ First have been known for a long time, as has Winston Peters support for commercial fishing.

“Incidentally, Talley’s is the same company that donated heavily to the campaign of Shane Jones, who has emerged as the de facto Minister of Fisheries in the current Government.”

Norman said it would appear from the outside that Jones was having “quite a big influence on fisheries policies”.

Jones said he had received donations from the company but they were in compliance with Parliament’s rules on donations.

He said Norman was using “politically lurid language,” which was “all part of their [Greenpeace’s] process to fundraise.

“Incidentally, Talley’s is the same company that donated heavily to the campaign of Shane Jones, who has emerged as the de facto Minister of Fisheries in the current Government.”

Speaking to the Herald, Norman said it would appear from the outside that Jones was having “quite a big influence on fisheries policies”.

Jones said he had received donations from the company but they were in compliance with Parliament’s rules on donations.

He said Norman was using “politically lurid language,” which was “all part of their [Greenpeace’s] process to fundraise”.

“Greenpeace has a track record of misinformation and exaggeration.

“It’s extraordinary that the Greenpeace’s Australian spokesman Russel Norman is ranting in such a way to damage the good name of New Zealand. Greenpeace has a track record of misinformation and exaggeration.

“It’s extraordinary that the Greenpeace’s Australian spokesman Russel Norman is ranting in such a way to damage the good name of New Zealand.”

One could suggest similar about Jones ranting.

Norman said this “obviously was not” his intention and said it was just a distraction from the fact an Amaltal fishing vessel was caught doing bottom trawls in a protected area of the Tasman Sea.

Amaltal is a subsidiary of fishing company Talley’s.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said MPI had initiated a prosecution against Amaltal, as well as the person who was the master of the vessel at the time of the incident.

Both are facing charges under the Fisheries Act, the spokeswoman said.

In its own statement, Amaltal confirmed one of its fishing vessels had inadvertently fished in an unauthorised area of the Tasman Sea in May last year.

But Jones has defended Amaltal.

Jones said this was a “mere technical issue which would be ironed out when common sense prevails”.

A follow up from Newshub: Shane Jones in hot water over support for Talley’s accused of illegal fishing

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is being accused of breaching parliamentary rules by appearing to support a fishing company that’s facing prosecution for illegal fishing.

New Zealand First MP Mr Jones described the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)’s case against agribusiness company Talley’s as a “technical issue” – when the Cabinet rules warn ministers against commenting on active cases.

But Mr Jones is now facing criticism for getting too close to the Talley’s case, calling it a “mere technical issue which would be ironed out when common sense prevails”.

On Friday he changed tact: “They are highly technical matters… and no doubt the court will be possessed of all the information.”

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman said it’s “completely unacceptable for a Cabinet minister to intervene in an active court case where the Crown is taking Talley’s to court for environmental damage”.

The Amaltal Apollo, a vessel owned by a subsidiary of Talley’s, is facing 14 charges for fishing in protected waters in the Tasman Sea.

And Cabinet rules clearly state: “Ministers do not comment on or involve themselves in the investigation of offences or the decision as to whether a person should be prosecuted.”

“I think there’s no question that Jones has breached the Cabinet Manual, which is the rules that govern the behaviour of Ministers,” Mr Norman said.

It does look like quite questionable comment on a current investigation by Jones.

Talley’s donated $10,000 to Mr Jones’ 2017 campaign. And while Mr Jones accepts that, and that he’s mates with Talley’s boss, Sir Peter Talley, he says it doesn’t mean anything.

Instead, he’s blaming Greenpeace for spreading what he calls “misinformation”.

There seems to be some fairly solid information here that suggests that Jones is again an embarrassment to the Government.

Mr Jones has previously been chair of Sealords and held top positions within Māori and Pacific fishery organisations.

He makes no secret of his continued close relationships with the big commercial fishing companies.

It’ll be up to the Prime Minister to decide whether Mr Jones has overstepped the mark and breached the rules in this case.

Due to Labour’s reliance on NZ First for support will Jacinda Ardern do anything about it? Probably not in public at least, or nothing more than a slap over the wrist with a wet bait fish.

‘A bit of a backdown’ on oil and gas exploration annoys Greens

It appears that the government has backed off a bit on it’s contentious ban on new oil and gas exploration, which was applauded by environmentalists and slammed by Taranaki business interests in particular. Is has been pointed out that it could lead to higher carbon emissions as more alternatives were sourced from overseas.

Hamish Rutherford (Stuff):  Symbolic backdown undermines Government’s untidy oil move

After all the hype, the Government’s troubled path to ending new oil exploration has a bizarre sting in the tail: a bit of a backdown.

In the hours before she announced a law change to give effect to decisions announced in April, which mean no new offshore permits, Energy Minister Megan Woods met with the industry to deliver a piece of good news.

Oil explorers facing deadlines on their permits to either commit to exploration wells or relinquish the permits – referred to as “drill or drop” – are likely to be given more breathing space.

It seems the deadline to drill could be pushed back for years, although Woods has not given details other than that she will consider giving more time on a case-by-case basis.

In terms of concessions, it looks like no big deal, given the Government is changing the legislation that frames the sector. No-one in the industry will celebrate this as a victory, given the overall impact of the moves by the Government.

But it seems like Woods is trying to head off a potentially major “what if?” headache.

As it stands, the Barque prospect off the coast of Oamaru will be lost forever if New Zealand Oil and Gas (NZOG) does not find partners willing to commit to the major cost of drilling, by early 2019.

Although the odds of success are put at only one in five, NZOG has claimed that, if successful, Barque could transform New Zealand’s energy outlook, with thousands of jobs and tens of billions of revenue.

Seen this way, Woods’ gesture to the industry looks like a major contradiction of the Government’s plan, to set New Zealand on a renewable future.

Reality wins over idealism?

Greens are not happy.

Both Greenpeace and the Green Party are furious, with the Government’s partners warning it waters down the moves made so far.

Given where we have come from, the latest move should be no surprise.

On a sunny day in March, Ardern walked down the steps of Parliament to greet Greenpeace activists, delivering a major shock that the Government was “actively considering” their call to end oil exploration. Although her speech was more symbol than substance, it was clear major plans were afoot.

As it turned out, the Government was not really considering anything, and it certainly did not want much in the way of advice.

Less than a month later, Ardern would lead a group of ministers into the Beehive theatrette to announce the decision, giving the impression that ministers had considered the matter.

In fact, all that had happened was that the leaders of Labour, NZ First and the Greens had reached a deal. Cabinet had no input in the decision.

Officials were so furious at being sidelined from the decision that it was leaked, spoiling Ardern’s plan for a dramatic announcement at Victoria University.

Greenpeace and the Green Party furious. Officials furious. Officials furious. It looks like this was rushed and bungled.

It should be remembered that this advice comes from bureaucrats who have not only been ignored in the actual decision-making, they are giving advice on a decision that could kill the sector they work in.

Seizing on the fact that – as in all long-term forecasting – the report on the oil exploration decision outlines a vast range of possibilities of the cost (from a few hundred million to more than $50 billion), Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters dismissed it as a “very, very bad piece of analytical work”.

It is fair to say that the official advice offers no accurate guide as to what the fiscal cost of the decision would be.

Given that we do not know the future for carbon prices, oil prices or interest rates, there is no way we could possibly know what that cost would be, a fact which seems lost on Peters.

What we do know is that there will be a cost, and it will likely be significant.

We also know that the way it was handled has had a significant impact on investor confidence in New Zealand, which seems to have dawned on the Government only months later.

It is also likely to have an impact on energy prices, both from the cost of gas to households and its impact on future electricity prices.

Woods said on Monday that, even with the benefit of hindsight and advice, she would still push for exactly the same decision.

Of course, she would say that. But it seems the Government has decided to breathe a little more life into oil exploration, just in case.

Green Party: Minister must not water down oil and gas decision

Green Party: Minister Woods must not water down decision to ban offshore oil and gas exploration

The Green Party does not support Labour Party Minister Woods allowing mining companies with existing offshore oil and gas exploration permits more time to consider if they will drill.

“Mining companies with existing licenses for drilling have a time limit on when they can explore. If they reach the time limit, their permits are handed back to the Crown”, Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said today.

They shouldn’t be offered special treatment to extend or waive that time limit.

“I struggle to see the point in banning offshore exploration for oil and gas if existing companies with huge blocks can hold off from exploring until way later down the track.

“New Zealand took an incredibly exciting and brave step for people and planet when we decided to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration.

“It has been congratulated world-wide and New Zealanders are proud of the decision, let’s not water it down.

“I am urging her to reconsider this proposal”.

Remember Gareth Hughes? I’m not sure how much clout he has. He is till an MP but is far from prominent.

 

Greenpeace’s substandard telemarketing

Gettinng donations will be more important than ever for Greenpeace New Zealand after the Charities Registration Board revoked their charity (tax free) status.

They are not going about it well, going by Voicemail exposes tactics used by some staff at Greenpeace NZ to solicit donations

Pushy and unprofessional telemarketers are turning away some aspiring philanthropists from donating with Greenpeace NZ.

Pressuring, guilt tripping and in some cases withdrawing more money than originally agreed upon, are some of the criticisms levied against some staff at the New Zealand branch of the well-known environmental conservation organisation.

On Thursday, one would-be donor was left a voicemail message which said “come on, give us your money or f… off”.

Another voice in the background, seemingly on another call, yelled “what’s the amount you can donate … come on mate, don’t be a dick about it”.

Greenpeace NZ confirmed the incident happened and said the staff member who left the message had been given a warning.

“A mistake was made yesterday [and] we will endeavour to communicate our apology. We are very disappointed with this incident,” the spokesman said.

It looks like more than a warning would be appropriate in this case.

Telemarketing for donations can be a difficult job, but unless it is done professionally and respectfully it can backfire.

But unfortunately this may not be an isolated incident.

A trawl of the Greenpeace NZ Facebook page shows several complaints already in 2018, mostly concerning the behaviour of its telemarketers.

  • “I got a call from green peace explaining the awesome new ideas they have coming, I agreed and was happy to contribute $1 a day to help support their organization. And I was very displeased to find that they charged me $26 from my account. I was not informed of this deduction and am very disappointed as I have bills to pay and could only afford the $1 a day. Not a happy chappy.”
  • “I spent a year donating $20 a month. Eventually I had to stop as I could no longer afford it. When I rung to cancel , i was told that’s a shame & then further questioned why or if I buy pies because that’s how much I could donate instead of getting the pie. I don’t appreciate the pressure or the questioning! Sort your shitty approaches out! And every week, sometimes every day I am getting phone calls from GP. If I don’t answer the land line, straight to my cell phone. Piss off. I won’t be donating again that’s for sure!”
  • “My 7yr old son saw your turtle ad on tv. He used my phone to text the number to “show his support” for the ban on plastic bags. Suddenly I was getting daily calls on my mobile with lengthy spiels from kids about turtles and plastic at really inconvenient times. Despite saying i wasn’t interested in giving money I still got calls. I have ended up blocking the number on my phone.”
  • “While I appreciate all of the work Greenpeace does. It was appalling the way I was spoken to when refusing to donate. Being told I would be able to afford to donate if I spent less time at the pub is completely unacceptable. As a student who has dedicated the past 3 years of my life to spreading awareness on climate change, changing the food I eat and the products I buy, to be then told by some clown on the phone I’d be better off donating $7 is a total joke. Perhaps your telemarketing staff should try an approach which isn’t insulting towards your supporters.”

Stuff:

All Greenpeace staff are hired through a thorough recruitment process, including a police check, and are paid at least the living wage, he said.

“When someone joins our team they receive three full days of comprehensive training, which includes expected conduct on the phone, before making any calls.

“We then have ongoing coaching and monitoring processes in place [and] we also have a dedicated staff member who is responsible for call monitoring to ensure all calls meet our standards.”

It looks like their training, coaching, and monitoring may be substandard along with their telemarketing.

 

Q&A: Greenpeace and fossil fuels

Greenpeace was declined charity status this week because of their activist activities and law breaking – see Greenpeace declined charity status.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given mixed signals about what the Government’s position is on the use of fossil fuels and on oil and gas exploration. She has said that climate change is the issue of the time, and received a petition against exploration that Greenpeace presented to Parliament recently, but she has been vague about what they will actually do.

This morning on Q&A theor director Russel Normal is interviewed about fossil fuels.

Farewell fossil fuels?
Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman is on the programme today to explain why New Zealand must end all new oil and gas exploration.

Greenpeace declined charity status

A few days after delivering a petition against oil and gas exploration to Parliament (received by Jacinda Ardern) Greenpeace has been declined charity status

In its decision dated 21 March 2018 the independent Charities Registration Board has decided to decline Greenpeace’s application to be a registered charity because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes.

The Board considers that Greenpeacehas an independent purpose to promote its own particular views about the environment and other issues.

The independent Board also said that Greenpeace and it’s members being involved in illegal activities disqualifies it from registration.


Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated

The role of the independent Charities Registration Board (“the Board”) is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration. The Board makes its decisions based on the facts before it applying the law including relevant case law. The Board must decline organisations’ applications for registration when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit. A purpose is charitable if it advances public benefit in a way that is analogous to cases that have previously been held to be charitable.

The Board has decided that Greenpeace of New Zealand Incorporated (“Greenpeace”) does not meet the legal requirements to be registered as a charity and has declined its application.

In 2014 the Supreme Court directed the Board to reconsider Greenpeace’s application in light of Greenpeace’s amended stated purposes and the Court’s decision.  The Board has carried out a full reconsideration of Greenpeace’s application and applied the principles decided in the courts to reach its decision.

The Board considers Greenpeace does not qualify for registration for two main grounds:

  1. Greenpeace promotes its points of view on the environment and other issues in ways that cannot be found to be for the benefit of the public.
  2. Greenpeace and its members’ involvement in illegal activities amounts to an illegal purpose which disqualifies it from registration.

Promotion of points of view

The Board considers that Greenpeace has an independent purpose to advocate its own particular views about the environment and other issues which does not advance a public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable.

Although the Supreme Court in Greenpeace held that advocacy can be charitable, it indicated that promoting a cause or advocating a particular viewpoint will not often be charitable. This is because it is not possible to say whether the views promoted are for the public benefit in the way the law recognises as charitable.

The Board considers that Greenpeace’s focus is on advocating its point of view on environmental issues such fossil fuel exploration and the expansion of intensive dairy farming.  Most of Greenpeace’s environmental advocacy cannot be determined to be in the public benefit when all the potential consequences of adopting its views are taken into account.

Greenpeace has the freedom to continue to communicate its views and to influence policy and legislation but the Board has found that Greenpeace’s pursuit of these activities do not qualify as being for the public benefit in a charitable sense.

Illegal purpose

The Supreme Court confirmed that an illegal purpose will disqualify an organisation from being registered as a charity. In some cases, an illegal purpose can be inferred from an organisation’s involvement in illegal activities.

The Board found that Greenpeace directly coordinates and authorises its members to carry out illegal activities, such as trespass on ships and buildings.  There is no evidence that Greenpeace has any processes in place to discourage its members from carrying out illegal activities.

The Board considers the illegal activities form a pattern of behaviour from which an illegal purpose can be inferred. Greenpeace’s illegal purpose means that it is disqualified from registration as a charity.

The Board’s full decision: Greenpeace-of-New-Zealand-Incorporated-Decision.pdf

The Charities Registration Board’s statement regarding the decision can be found here.

Greenpeace: “New Zealanders want to end oil exploration”

I really really don’t like it when activist groups claim to represent “New Zealanders” without providing any evidence of their claim. In this case I’m certain that not all New Zealanders “want to end oil exploration”.

Stuff: Greenpeace says Ardern has ‘the benefit of the doubt’ over end to oil

Environmental group Greenpeace says a failure to end oil exploration would put Labour in the same camp as National, but for now Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has “the benefit of the doubt”.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock, who delivered the petition to Ardern, said the Prime Minister’s attendance at the rally was taken as a positive sign.

“The petition was designed to send a strong message that the public want her to rule out any new permits going forward and we took it as incredibly positive that she came. For now we’re giving her the benefit of the doubt and we’ll continue to send a strong message that New Zealanders want to end oil exploration.”

Making unsubstantiatable claims like that really weakens their argument.

Simcock said if Ardern’s Government awarded new exploration permits “she’s probably in the same boat as [National leader] Simon Bridges when he put all of this into action. Our position on that was we’ve got a Government that’s not listening to the people and not taking climate change seriously.”

A warning to Ardern – but Ardern has many more things and people to consider than Greenpeace.

Government actively considering whether to decide on oil exploration

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern personally received a Greenpeace petition calling foe an end to oil exploration at Parliament today, and said that the Government was actively considering what to do, but didn’t give any more specifics.

Stuff:  Ardern says Government ‘actively considering’ call to end oil exploration

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed attending a state visit to personally receive a Greenpeace petition calling for the end of oil exploration.

Greenpeace said the petition was signed by 45,000 people, including Dame Jane Campion, Taika Waititi and actor Lucy Lawless.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock said Ardern had won praise for describing climate change as New Zealand’s “nuclear free moment” but now had to put the words into action.

Standing in front of a series of posters of Labour leaders which had made high profile environmental decisions, Ardern said her Government was “actively considering” the issue.

Although her statement was light on details and Ardern has previously refused to rule out ending offering new exploration blocks, the decision to walk to the front of Parliament was highly symbolic.

“We’re working hard on this issue and we know that it’s one that we can’t afford to spend much time on,” Ardern said at the Greenpeace rally.

“But we are actively considering it now and we are considering all of these issues in mind and with this government’s pledge that we will be carbon neutral by 2050, that’s not in question.

“But these are the intermediate decisions that we have to make in between. So while I ask for time, I’m not asking for much. But just enough that we can make sure that we factor in everything that you would ask us to factor in,” Ardern said, including “grave environmental concerns”.

Which didn’t really say a lot, but Ardern has already walked back on this.

By 4pm Ardern appeared to walk back the comments, saying consideration of what to do with the process under which areas are offered for oil exploration was something that “every government does around this time of year”.

So they are “actively considering” something that “every government does around this time of year”

Ardern is going to have to start delivering on some of her implied support or she will disillusion people and groups.

 

Environmentalists lobby incoming government

An open letter has been sent to sent to Bill English,  Jacinda Ardern, James Shaw and Winston Peters from environmental groups and lobbyists including Forest and Bird, Greenpeace New Zealand, WWF New Zealand and Fish & Game New Zealand.

It’s not very open, I can’t find a copy online, but NZ Herald reports: Leading environmentalists’ plea to the next Government

“A winner in this year’s election was the New Zealand environment. It featured as a bigger concern amongst the electorate than ever before. All of you through your party manifestos made commitments to improve the state of our environment. We congratulate you for those promises.”

It says there must be a more structured and transparent approach to tackling the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.

“New Zealand’s emissions have continued to climb and we need an ambitious plan on how to reduce them. “

They call for a new law to establish a statutory carbon budgeting process overseen by an independent commission to plan, monitor and report on the transition to “net zero by 2050”.

“Anything less betrays this and future generations.”

The letter says a key measure of environmental success will be ecologically healthy fresh waters which New Zealanders are able to swim in.

It also states the unique species of New Zealand are “the jewels in the crown of our national identity” and calls for stronger emphasis on conservation.

Increasing the Department of Conservation’s core budget must be a key component in that strategy, the letter says.

Lobbying was in full swing during the election campaign, and continues as we wait for parties to work out who is going to form a government.

A Burr under the Green saddle

Lloyd Burr at Newshub echoes and highlights the hypocrisy of the Green Party over their apparently unconditional support of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary  at the expense of Māori treaty rights, something the Greens normally promote as sacrosanct.

Newshub: Greens have turned back on Treaty

By unconditionally supporting the Kermadec ocean sanctuary proposal, the Green Party is turning its back on the Treaty of Waitangi and its own Te Tiriti policy.

The Greens have always been a strong voice on Treaty issues and like to publicise that fact.

But its current support of the Kermadec legislation, which walks all over Māori rights, is a slap in the face for all its past rhetoric.

In fact, it’s hypocritical.

Burr details a number of issues where the Greens put a lot of importance on Te Tiriti.

  • The water rights debate during the asset sales saga? The Greens said “the Key Government’s rush to sell assets does not justify it ignoring its Treaty obligations”.
  • The  private members bill that would stop Māori land confiscations under the Public Works Act? The bill will “stop any more unfair confiscations of what is left of whenua Māori”.
  • Co-leader Metiria Turei’s Ratana speech a few years ago about how proud she was of the Green Party’s Māori policies? “We in the Green Party deeply believe in the benefits of honouring the Treaty,” she said.
  • The Greens saying it opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership because “the damage it could do to Māori rights and the Māori economy”.

But the Greens, plus organisations closely associated with the Greens like Greenpeace – Māori versus the environmental lobby – see the Kermadec sanctuary as important enough to ignore rights negotiated by Māori under the Treaty.

The saga must be a kick in the guts for Green MP Marama Davidson who has been such a champion on Māori issues.

It must be a hard pill for her to swallow.

Where does co-leader Metiria Turei fit in to this? She makes a big deal about the importance of Māori issues. When it suits her.

Māori versus the environmental lobby

More on the lack of consultation with Māori, who have existing rights granted under a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, over the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, and the reality that environmental groups are willing to put their own ambitions ahead of Māori rights.

And opposition parties.

Stephanie Rodgers has posted on the environmental lobby at Boots Theory and reposted at The Standard, where there are some interesting comments – The Kermadecs and racist environmentalism.

We’re not even arguing about meaningful consultation around establishing the Kermadec sanctuary, we’re talking about ZERO consultation by white politicians who assumed they knew best. National are literally in coalition with the Māori Party but didn’t even pick up the phone to give them a heads-up…

It was handled poorly by the Government initially, and worse since with Environment Minister Nick Smith making more of a mess of it, to the extent that the legislation has been put on hold until it is sorted out.

But Rodgers in particular blasts environmental groups.

This week has been a revelation in the racist imperialism of mainstream (white) environmental organisations.

Problem 2 is the (very Pākehā) environment lobby’s outrage that anyone might stand in the way of an ocean sanctuary. “Think of the planet!” they cry, which is appallingly arrogant coming from the ethnic group which has done the vast majority of screwing up the planet to start with.

We have to take a hard look at how environmental organisations and Pākehā liberalism exploit indigenous culture. When it suits us, we happily draw on the notion of indigenous people being ~more in touch with the land~ and having a ~spiritual connection to nature~ and painting with all the goddamned colours of the wind. When it helps our agenda, we happily retweet the hashtags opposing oil pipelines and trumpet the importance of honouring the Treaty.

But scratch the surface and all the smug superiority is there. We know better; our thinking is more advanced because we care about ~the whole planet~.

It’s very easy to care about the whole planet when you’re on the team who took it by force.

That’s scathing of the “very Pākehā environment lobby”.  Rodgers doesn’t name names, but there has been angst expressed over ex Green leader and now Greenpeace leader Russel Norman’s performance on The Nation in the weekend, where he appeared to see the Sanctuary as sacrosanct and effectively, to hell with Māori ownership of rights.

A press release on Friday:

Environmental Groups support Government on the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary

Representatives of leading environmental groups have reaffirmed their strong support for the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

The groups include Greenpeace, WWF, Forest & Bird, the Environmental Defence Society and Ecologic.

Greenpeace Executive Director Dr Russel Norman said that he backed the Government’s determination to create the Sanctuary in spite of strong resistance from the fishing industry.

“The Kermadec proposal will be the largest ever marine protected area in our jurisdiction. It will have immense ecological benefits, allowing marine life in 15% of our Exclusive Economic Zone to prosper without any form of commercial exploitation,” said Dr Norman.

Which means all fishing rights should be removed.

WWF-New Zealand’s Senior Campaigner, Alex Smith, said that fishing industry lobbyists had consistently opposed the creation of no-take marine reserves so the current opposition was not unexpected.

“New Zealand has obligations under international law to protect the marine environment that surrounds us. The Government is entirely within its rights to create marine protected areas like the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary,” said Mr Smith.

“The Sanctuary is backed by solid science and by 89% of New Zealanders. We urge the fishing industry to break away from its traditional opposition to full marine protection and get behind this initiative.”

That uses the term ‘fishing industry’ and omits the fact that Māori fishing rights are involved.

The Executive Director of Ecologic, long-time environmentalist Guy Salmon, said:

“This is the biggest conservation gain for our oceans in my lifetime and is of international importance,” he said.

“I don’t believe the Sanctuary involves a breach of property rights, and that claim will now be tested in Court.”

That’s a line up of “a very Pākehā environment lobby”.

But it’s not just environmental groups involved. The sanctuary has cross party support, with both Greens and Labour supporting National on it.

From an interview on Waatea News with Te Ohu Kaimoana chair Jamie Tuuta:

“…I think it is important for the Green Party to reflect on their view on the treaty and indigenous rights because it is fair to say if they support the bill in its current form, they are supporting the unilateral extinguishment of Maori rights and interests,” he says.

Normally the Greens put some value on Māori rights and would hate to be seen as “very Pākehā”.

In comments Rodgers again slammed the Government (with some justification)…

There’s nothing “novel” in the government’s approach on this. They announced a major decision affecting a Treaty settlement with zero consultation with the affected parties. Par for the course for European colonisers in New Zealander, really. No one can be surprised that now Māori have a (somewhat) larger voice in the public discourse, they’re raising hell about it.

It is clear racism when Māori are expected to accept “full and final” Treaty settlements, the Government of the day unilaterally changes those settlements, and then all the white folk run around pontificating about “commercial interests” and “gifts to the planet” and “extinction of the moa”.

…but doesn’t mention the Greens. Nor her own Labour Party. Alwyn brought them into the discussion:

  1. Labour take a Maori leaning approach, oppose the sanctuary, and cause a split in the MOU between them and the Green Party. The Green Party can hardly oppose the sanctuary can they?
  2. Labour supports the sanctuary, which was in the policy for the last election, and whip their own Maori MPs into line, thereby showing that Labour don’t really provide any reason for Maori to vote for them.
  3. Alternatively the Labour Party supports the sanctuary and the Maori members of the Labour Party Caucus cross the floor and vote against it.

Then you get the question of why the Maori members are remaining in the Labour Party at all. What do you think the Labour Party are going to do?

It was pointed out that the “Labour position is they support the sanctuary but oppose the process”.  And “that sounds very like their TPP stance and we know how that’s worked for them”. A bob each way politics, opposing the Government but supporting what they want to achieve.

Most people support the Kermadec sanctuary, including the Māori Party (and Māori generally as far as I’m aware).

It’s not just National who should be having a serious look at how they want to progress the sanctuary. Environmental groups and the Greens and Labour may like to have a rethink as well.