Green differences over 1080

Groups and individuals have staunchly opposed the use of 1080 to control pests like possums and rats, but the Department of Conservation and conservation groups see it as an essential tool in protecting native species.

Some take extreme measures. RNZ: Loose nuts threaten DOC staff safety

There are fears for the safety of conservation workers and contractors after recent attacks on their vehicles.

In three instances wheel nuts on the vehicles were loosened in acts believed to be connected to protests over the Conservation Department’s use of 1080 poison for pest management.

In the most serious case a contractor avoided injury when a wheel came off while he was driving, after its nuts had been loosened.

DOC director-general Lou Sanson said toxic bait had been put in a staff letterbox and he had also seen other threatening posts on Facebook recently.

“Threats to put wires across gullies to bring down helicopters and a number of brochures put on DoC vehicles depicting targets of helicopters.”

He said it was extremely disappointing as DoC staff were working hard to try and preserve New Zealand’s native birds.

“Rats, stoats and possums have been winning. We know we can turn it around and we have.”

“Keas have made a great recovery in nearly 20 percent of the Southern Alps and there has also been an amazing recovery in kākā and mohua in South Westland.”

Mr Sanson said people had a right to protest but it had gone too far.

There seems to be a difference within the Green Party on this.

Newshub: National MP accuses Marama Davidson of undermining Conservation Minister

National MP Sarah Dowie says Marama Davidson has undermined fellow Green Party MP and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage with comments over 1080.

Ms Davidson said on Wednesday protesters who threw dead birds and fake pellets on the steps of parliament had “valid concerns”.

“We need to listen, and we need to have community-led conversations about this,” she told Stuff.

“They are trying to be heard, and we will need to keep listening.”

“There are some concerns about 1080 but it is the major tool we’ve got in the tool box to assist particularly in the more remote and mountainous areas,” Ms Sage told Stuff in June.

Ms Dowie said it was not a good look for the Greens to have two MPs apparently disagreeing about the poison.

“Ms Sage will be highly embarrassed by Marama Davidson’s comments to the anti-1080 lobby,” she said.

“She’s basically undermined Ms Sage’s efforts with respect to the protection of our biodiversity.”

Ms Dowie said the division may go even further, considering another governing party’s stance on the poison.

“New Zealand First actually campaigned on banning the use of 1080,” she said.

Both National and Labour say 1080 is the most effective pest control tool New Zealand has. They have the support of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the Department of Conservation, the Environmental Protection Authority, and lobby groups including Forest and Bird, Federated Farmers, WWF and Ospri.

A tweet from ex-Green MP Kevin Hague yesterday:

 

There seems to be a clash between the environmental Greens and the activist Greens.

‘Vote for Nature’

Ex Green MP Kevin Hague on Facebook:

At Forest & Bird we have been working really hard to bring conservation and environmental protection to the fore this election. These ‘cinderella’ issues have been perpetually ignored at elections, with the consequence that they languish with poor funding and government policy that just makes things worse.

In her report on the plight of native birds (80% in trouble) the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment called the situation desperate. Nature needs our help.

We need to restore and protect for the inherent value of the natural world, because human beings are part of that world too and depend on it, and because our entire economy is based on the idea of a clean, green country where people cherish our wonderful environment.

We have succeeded! Conservation and environmental protection have become issues that the political parties have been forced to respond to.

To keep these issues at the front of voters’ minds we made a website www.votefornature.org.nz with information about party policies on key issues.

Valedictory Statement – Kevin Hague

One of the best and most widely respected MPs have his valedictory speech in parliament today. Kevin Hague missed out on the Green party co-leadership last year – he could have made a real difference for them in that position – but has now chosen to move on the lead NZ Forest and Bird.

Draft transcript:


VALEDICTORY STATEMENTS

KEVIN HAGUE (Green):

[Authorised Te Reo text to be inserted by the Hansard Office.]

I used to do a lot of sailing. Ian and I—our first yacht was a 24-foot cutter and we would often be the smallest boat at Great Barrier Island or around the Hauraki Gulf in the various anchorages.

I remember in 1988, during Cyclone Bola—and some might question the decision to go sailing—we were anchored in a bay in the outer part of the Coromandel Harbour. The wind was so strong that the anchors would not hold. Together with many other boats, the two of us kept a 24-hour anchor watch.

We would anchor in the most sheltered part of the bay, and then the wind would sweep us across the bay. We would turn on the outboard motor, punch back into the wind, set the anchors again, and hope that they would hold for a little while longer. We did that again, and again, and again. The wind kept up for more than 24 hours, and we were exhausted, but eventually the anchors did hold.

Eight years of Opposition has felt something like that. Going to work each day, standing up for what we believe in, but losing almost all of our arguments—not because we were wrong, but because of the Government’s superior numbers and the resources of Government.

I guess for me, what we have had to do is to find a way to pick ourselves back up and punch back into that wind, into the storm. But now my watch has ended. It has been an enormous honour to serve in this role, to stand here and to know that along with my Green colleagues I represent an enormous number of New Zealanders who share our vision and our values.

I leave here proud of the work that I have helped to do.

I also leave here with some regrets. I have projects that I believe in passionately that I will not be able to see through to their conclusion. It goes against the grain for me to leave work unfinished.

I am leaving behind people who matter a great deal to me. I have friends right across this House and right across the political spectrum. I will not get to be a Minister, with the opportunity to implement policy in Government, and I think I might have done a pretty good job of that.

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

KEVIN HAGUE: Thank you. But despite those regrets, I have no doubts. I want to thank the Green Party, all of its members, the staff, the volunteers, and other MPs for the opportunity to do this work and for their support and friendship while doing it.

Those people who have worked in the Green Party’s parliamentary team have been outstanding, and I especially want to thank those who have worked in my own office—Joanna Plows, Sophie Belton, Nerei Kanak, Linda Veyers, Tasi Vaonga, Ridian Thomas, and the incomparable Jen Lawless.

You have seamlessly hidden my flaws from the world while simultaneously doing all the real work. Thank you very much.

I am grateful for the wonderful support that I have enjoyed over the years from the Parliamentary Service team and from the Office of the Clerk. I think, in particular, I am probably one of the biggest users of the Parliamentary Library and the travel teams, and they have always been fast, efficient, and reliable. I said earlier that I have friends across the House.

It has always seemed to me that positive relationships stop disagreement about some issues from getting in the way of collaborating on others.

I particularly want to acknowledge colleagues from all parties who have served with me on the Health Committee, and my great friends Ruth Dyson and Louisa Wall with whom I worked closely on marriage equality and other issues, and Nikki Kaye. Nikki and I worked together on a bill to completely overhaul the adoption law. I want to extend to Nikki my very best wishes for her recovery and swift return to this House.

I want to thank members of the Press Gallery, past and present. I have pretty much always felt that I had a fair run from you, and for the biggest issues that I worked on, you were also great partners in the pursuit of truth and justice—thank you.

Always, the work in Parliament has been made possible by others working in the community. It is a role that I have played in the past, and to which I return now.

As most people do, I think, in preparing this last speech, I went back to my first. As part of that speech, I set out some of my hopes for my Parliamentary career and some of the expectations that I knew that others held.

I talked about the hopes of cyclists that I would help make roads safe and well-engineered for all users, and for a national network of off-road cycling tracks.

I want to express my thanks to the Prime Minister for the great opportunity to work alongside him as co-sponsors of Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail network.

That project has achieved what we hoped for and more.It created lots of employment, it has provided a major boost to regional economies, and it has got loads more people riding their bikes more often. Those people are now demanding better cycling facilities in towns and cities as well. The trick now will be to sustain and grow that network, and it would be fantastic to see a multi-party agreement to make that happen.

I said in that maiden speech that people who love wild rivers and our natural world for its intrinsic values would be looking for me to make a contribution.

I led a major Parliamentary campaign alongside Forest and Bird—it is a fantastic organisation, is it not—Whitewater NZ, and the Wild Rivers coalition that led to the Mōkihinui River being saved. My campaign was based on how Lake Manapōuri was saved. I set out to get people all around the country to care about what happened to a place and to animals and plants that they had never, and probably would never directly experience, and it worked.

New Zealanders love the rivers, forests, oceans, and animals of Aotearoa, and they want to protect them.

I was also pleased to work with Kate Wilkinson to conduct major field trials of resetting traps, a project that has laid one of the main foundations for daring to believe that Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of a predator-free New Zealand was possible.

I said in that speech that the gay and lesbian communities and the wider rainbow family would look to me to keep delivering on the promise of equal rights and opportunity. I have worked on a number of projects over the past 8 years, most notably the successful campaign for marriage equality.

I leave behind three important ones: better health services for transgender New Zealanders; the petition that is currently before the House for an apology and for wiping the convictions of gay men who were convicted of consensual sexual activity between adults before homosexual law reform; and my campaign to have the Education Review Office required to audit the safety of all schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.

We showed in 2014 that most secondary schools do not provide such a safe environment, and that the Education Review Office never exposes that. Perhaps as a farewell present?

There are a couple of areas where I have been proud of a contribution I did not expect to make. I worked hard to expose what I called a sick culture of disentitlement in ACC. Major improvements were made, and I praise the then Minister, the Hon Judith Collins, but more still is required—more change is still required.

I also warned New Zealanders that the insurance industry and small government ideologues have not given up on their plan of a privatised ACC, and vigilance is still required.

But the work that I am proudest of is that that I did in the aftermath of the Pike River tragedy. I have felt a heavy responsibility for that work, and I have been pleased to contribute to a major overhaul of workplace health and safety regulation in this country.

But I have been frustrated and angry that nobody from the board or from the senior management of Pike River Coal Ltd has been held to account, or will ever be held to account, for what has occurred, and that 29 men still have not been brought home to their families.

The other area where I know people hoped that I would be able to make an impact is health, and, in particular, increasing Parliament’s understanding that health outcomes are the result of people’s circumstances and environments, like poverty, housing, and how empowered their communities are, rather than individual choices, and goodness knows I have given enough lectures on that topic in this House.

I regret that successive Ministers of Health have preferred to adopt an adversarial approach to their portfolio. I believe that much more could have been achieved by working together across the House on health.

Economists seem to agree that funding for health services has dropped cumulatively and in real terms by almost $2 billion since 2008, while something like $20 billion has spent on roads of national significance, for example. To me, that suggests that the priorities are entirely the wrong way around.

It seems essential to me that Government should seek to ensure that every person has the basics that will enable them to have a decent life: enough good food, clean air and water, warmth and shelter, the means to good health and education, and a decent income.

In this country, a growing number—far too many—do not have these basics, and worse, access to them is unfairly distributed. Remedying these problems should be the purpose of Government—that is what Government is for.

The economy is not some force of nature; it is a collection of tools that we can re-engineer to help us meet those social goals.

Instead, far too often, people are sacrificed in the interests of the economy, and that is fundamentally the wrong way around.

The same is true of the environment. When the natural world is seen as a set of resources to service the economy as raw materials or waste disposal, we know that something is fundamentally wrong. Restoring and conserving a sustainable relationship with nature should be the other fundamental goal of Government, which the economy should serve.

Our country is run as though people and the environment need to serve the economy as inputs to the firm, and this needs to change entirely.

When people are homeless because of land banking and kids go hungry because wages and benefits do not even cover the basics; when they have avoidable health conditions that scar their entire lives because of poor-quality, overcrowded housing; when landowners are still cutting down lowland forest, draining wetlands, and allowing their stock into rivers because there is money to be made; when the last Maui’s dolphin plunged towards extinction because we prioritised the oil and fishing industries, something is fundamentally wrong.

When our very species is at grave risk because governments around the world refuse to take decisive action on climate change lest it harm business, then we know that making people and the environment serve the economy has reached its logical end-point of self-destruction.

There are also areas where change is desperately needed but where successive Governments have taken no action because of what I believe is political timidity.

There are others, but I want to single out drug law reform, adoption law reform—which I have already mentioned—and assisted dying.

These are all areas where the member’s bill process is poorly suited to considered reform, and where a solid public mandate already exists for change. These are also areas where archaic law harms people in terrible ways every day, so I appeal to all parties to please be brave, and stand for something.

Finally, I want to give my thanks to those who have been on this journey with me: my friends, especially those in whose houses I have so often been a terrible guest, arriving late and leaving early, and those who have had to put up with me not being around for their important occasions.

Thanks to my family, some of whom are able to be here tonight, and above all thanks to my partner Ian.

In this House our partners and families pay a great price in enabling us to do this work, and I extend my respect and thanks to all of yours.

When I entered Parliament, I said that I wanted to dedicate my time here to the memory of my mum and my sister. I hope that they would have been proud.

I leave here now to take on another really exciting challenge. I know that those who come after me in the Greens will bring new skills, knowledge, and energy that I could not have contributed.

But in leaving I feel that I have done my best, I feel I have made things better, and I go with my integrity intact. I wish you all the very best.

Waiata

Radicalisation of the Greens and Labour

Losing Russel Norman last year and now losing Kevin Hague are blows to the Green Party. Their replacement MPs move Greens more towards a radical social activist party.

Norman did a lot to try and ‘normalise’ the Greens, to make them appear as if they were credible on business and economic matters in particular. He succeeded to an extent.

But last year he decided to move on (to Greenpeace). He was replaced by next on the list, Marama Davidson, who is more of a social activist who has attracted some attention, currently to the forefront of the inquiry into homelessness.

Hague tried to take over Norman’s co-leadership position but was rejected. Hague was one of  the Green’s best assets as a practical and hard worker who backed his principles but was prepared to work with anyone from any party or political leaning to try and achieve results.

Hague is now moving on to head Forest and Bird. So both he and Norman have moved on to environmental roles, and away from the Green Party.

Hague’s replacement will be next on the list, Barry Coates. He used to head Oxfam, and  aid organisation that has become more active in promoting social reform.

Coates has been leading anti-TPP protests in New Zealand. Social activism.

Norman’s replacement as co-leader, James Shaw, has not made a huge impression yet.

Greens’ other co-leader Metiria Turei has been involved in social activism for some time.

Greens could soften their radicalisation somewhat if they elevated Julie Anne Genter, but despite quiet rumours there is no solid sign of Turei stepping aside or down. Fortunately Genter at least looks to be a stayer at this stage.

While Greens do promote environmental issues such as clean rivers and climate change they appear to be moving more towards social activism with a strong socialist tinge.

Greens were ambitious last election so were disappointed not to increase their share of the vote in 2014, despite Labour’s weakening. They seem to have hit a Green ceiling.

This year they have entered into a Memorandum or Understanding with Labour so they can campaign as a combined Labour-Green ticket.

Labour under Andrew Little’s leadership also seem to be trying to move left and have also become more involved in social activism, promoting a number of petitions and joining the Greens in the homeless inquiry, and also appear in part at least to oppose the TPP.

With the growing radicalisation of the Greens and their closer association with a more radical Labour it’s no wonder Winston Peters sees growth potential for NZ First in the centre.

Greens and Labour may think their future lies in popular movements similar to Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK but neither of them have succeeded yet beyond exciting a vocal minority.

While our next election is probably more than a year away Greens and Labour have tied their colours to the campaign mast – fairly red colours with a tinge of green. They either know something about the future intention of voters that isn’t apparent, or are taking a huge punt.

It’s probably about 50/50 whether National would need NZ First to form the next government. It’s closer to 90/10 that Labour+Greens would require NZ First.

A more radical Greens+Labour plus the determination of Peters to remain an unknown quantity will be a hard sell to voters. Add to that recent policy announcements on education and housing indicate an attempt to outdo Labour’s large spending promises and we could have a fairly radical option next year, versus National plodding along.

 

The Hague convention

This type of MP behaviour and earned respect from across the spectrum could be described as the Hague convention.

will be a genuine loss to Parliament. He is good to work with – always, principled, clear, fair and constructive. Go well Kevin

Congratulations to on the new role. I enjoyed working with Kevin when I was Minister of ACC. Kevin was always sensible.

Thank you for your service and comradeship in Parliament, . I’m sure you’ll do great work at

There’s been a lot of other signs of respect for Kevin’s convention of working positively with whoever it took to try and achieve a better outcome.

And I don’t recall him doing negative, he was issue and result focussed, and didn’t seem to get drawn into the dirty side of politics.

It would be good if the Hague convention could become a normal way of doing politics in New Zealand rather than stand out as the exception.

Hague to leave Parliament

Kevin Hague has announced that he will leave Parliament to head Forest and Bird.

He stood for Green co-leadership last year but was beaten by James Shaw. He has been their health, conservation, ACC, Sport & Recreation and Rainbow spokesperson.

Kevin will be a big loss to the Greens. He is their most practical, pragmatic MPs, prepared to work with whoever could help achieve goals.

He will be an asset to Forest and Bird. before becoming an MP in 208 he was CEO of the West Coast District Health Board.

He will be replaced on parliament by next person on the Green list, Barry Coates, who has previously headed Oxfam and who has been prominent organising anti-TPP protests.

‘Govt cowardly on euthanasia’

Not just the Government – some opposition MPs and parties could be seen as unwilling to address an important issue for many people too.

A lead item on Stuff:

‘Govt cowardly on euthanasia’

John Key supports euthanasia but he won’t make it a Government bill – is it time for a rethink?

The actual article headline is less provocative:

Lecretia Seales lives on in a health inquiry into euthanasia that kicks off this week

A petition was handed to MPs at Parliament, which sparked an inquiry into voluntary euthanasia.

Wellington was home for Matt Vickers for a long time – it’s also where his love and memories of his late wife Lecretia Seales live on.

Seales died from in June last year after a long battle with cancer that ran hand-in-hand with a courageous fight to win the right to choose to end her own life. Hours before she took her last breath she learned her legal battle had failed.

On Wednesday Vickers will be the first of 1800 people to speak to a parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia, instigated by a petition in the name of former Labour MP Maryan Street and the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

The petition, which garnered 8795 signatures and cross-party support, came in the wake of Seales death.

It demanded the committee examine public opinion on the introduction of legislation “which would permit medically-assisted dying in the event of a terminal illness or an irreversible condition which makes life unbearable”.

More than 21,000 submissions later – the most ever received by any select committee – Vickers will pull up a seat at 8am in front of a panel of MPs to explain Lecretia’s story.

“Lecretia was very strong in wanting a choice, that wasn’t a weakness of character. She wanted to be able to exercise her strength by having a choice,” he said.

The submission process is an opportunity for the country to “honestly and unashamedly talk about the end of our lives without fear”.

The problem is that generally MPs and parties don’t want to be associated with discussing euthanasia despite strong public support for change.

And the chair of the Parliamentary committee has caused some concern.

While in Wellington Vickers will also launch his book, Lecretia’s Choice, and already one member of the select committee intends to read it – chair and National MP Simon O’Connor.

The Tamaki MP is Catholic and spent almost a decade studying for the priesthood with the Society of Mary before deciding he couldn’t be a politico and a cleric.

Vickers, much like Street and Seymour, is concerned about O’Connor chairing the committee – all three question how someone publicly opposed to euthanasia can chair an inquiry into it.

But some MPs from different parties are promoting the discussion.

National MP Chris Bishop stood alongside Seymour, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway and Green MP Kevin Hague when Parliament received Street’s petition in June.

Bishop supports the inquiry and Seymour’s bill and says while O’Connor chairs the committee, “he’s not doing the whole inquiry – he’s only one person”.

Seymour says O’Connor should apologise before oral submissions kick off on Wednesday for “soliciting submissions from a certain point of view which happens to coincide with his own beliefs”.

“If you look at the way Simon’s behaved you’ve got to be pretty concerned … it’s really quite shameful given you get paid an extra $20,000 to be a chair.”

“He’s got every incentive, he’s an ambitious guy like most people in Parliament, and if he wants to be a minister one day then he has to actually play a straight bat and be seen to play a straight bat.”

Seymour versus National:

Even Prime Minister John Key supports euthanasia and Seymour’s bill and said the select committee inquiry is proof “it’s quite possible without a bill being in Parliament to have a good and open discussion about the issue”.

The Government has no intention of picking up Seymour’s bill but Key says “at some point it’s bound to be drawn”.

According to Seymour, every Government is reluctant to pick up controversial issues and this National government isn’t alone – homosexual law reform, abortion law and marriage equality also came out of members’ bills.

“All governments have been cowardly on controversial issues, not just this one.”

And some opposition parties. ‘Not a priority’ is a cop out.

He also blames several senior Ministers in Cabinet being strongly opposed to euthanasia for blocking it.

He wants a public conversation that does some myth-busting.

I hope the committee listens well and does this inquiry justice.

I strongly believe that with adequate legal protections freedom of choice for individuals who are dying should be paramount – and certainly choices about our own lives should not be illegal.

 

More ‘predator free’ responses

NZH: Conservation Minister Maggie Barry on the Government’s predator free policy

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry spoke to The Country’s Jamie Mackay today about the devastation caused by introduced predators such as possums, stoats and rats and how New Zealand has no obligation to see these animals as part of our ecosystem.

New Zealand First’s Richard Prosser claims that the move has the potential to be the worst unintentional ecological blunder of modern times.

Audio

NZH: Anti-1080 groups: Plan is ‘ludicrous’

Ban 1080 Party president Bill Wallace, of Nelson, dismissed it as a pipe dream.

“But it’s justification for another 34 years of spreading 1080 in ever-greater quantities,” Wallace said.

He doubted private companies would want to be associated with a poisoning programme in which animals died “slow and tortured deaths”.

“This is just ludicrous,” 1080 activist Laurie Collins, of Buller, said. “They know they haven’t got a hope in hell.”

Farmers Against Ten Eighty spokeswoman Mary Molloy, of Hari Hari…

… said the ideal was laudable but not feasible.

West Coast Regional Council chairman Andrew Robb…

…welcomed the announcement.

He said it would mean a lot more aerial jobs on the Coast, with follow-up ground work, which would also create some employment opportunities.

In terms of the councils putting in $2 for every $1 of private money, he noted a lot of the work would be on Government land.

Federated Farmers spokesman for pest management Chris Allen…

…said it fully supported the target, although noting it would take billions of dollars to achieve eradication using current technologies.

“Federated Farmers want an assurance that the money will be made available to investigate new strategies and technologies,” Allen said.

More from Prosser…

New Zealand First said it had the potential to derail into the worst unintentional ecological blunder of modern times.

The party’s primary industries and outdoor recreation spokesman Richard Prosser said birds and lizards had coexisted alongside ferrets and stoats for more than 130 years, cats for 200 years, and rats for more than 800.

As much as one third of native bird life has been lost. Many bird species are now endangered, as are tuatara and other lizards.

“The rat is the preferred food of the stoat, which only switches to preying on birds when rat populations are depleted,” Prosser said.

The intention of eliminating rats was so unrealistic as to be “bordering on the irrational”.

Green Party list MP Kevin Hague…

…said the $28m the Government was initially investing was “a drop in the bucket”.

To make Stewart Island predator free would cost up to $25m alone. In addition, DOC’s funding had been reduced by some $56m a year on the last Labour government budget, he said.

NZH Editorial: Predator purge best hope for precious fauna

The ambitious public-private project carries risks, and the financial commitment is a long way shy of the costs estimated by the Auckland study. Reaching the target rests partly on technology which does not yet exist, though Conservation Minister Maggie Barry believes that a “scientific breakthrough” will emerge to eradicate at least one small mammalian predator from New Zealand by 2025, less than a decade away.

Destructive introduced mammals have been in New Zealand for centuries. Rats arrived as long ago as 700 years, and other unwelcome invasive species followed. As much as one third of native bird life has been lost. Kiwi are expected to vanish from the mainland within 50 years unless their decline is arrested.

For decades now, tens of millions of dollars have been invested in pest control programmes, yet the survival of many remaining species is uncertain and the presence of predators is still entrenched. The goal of wiping them out, even with more funding and the outlines of a co-ordinated plan, will be extremely hard to achieve. To keep what we’ve got, there is really no other option.

Press editorial: Predator-free NZ a worthy goal but will the Government’s scheme fly?

Thirty-four years is a long time. In 2050, if the trap slams shut on the last remaining stoat or rat in New Zealand, we can judge as an incredible success the pest-control strategy just announced by John Key’s National Government.

Pragmatically, though, that target is many, many years away. How many members of the Government will still be in Parliament then? And the $28 million being put by the Government into the scheme is a very small amount, roughly the same that was spent on the failed effort to change the flag.

The idea deserves support, not least because finally the Government has shown an interest in protecting, and improving, our environment.

Commendably, the Government has set some interim goals to achieve by 2025, including having 1 million hectares where pests are suppressed or removed, and a scientific breakthrough capable of eradicating one small mammal predator. Such goals should help the strategy proceed on to and down the right track.

There have been successful public-private partnerships in the conservation sector. But do we really need a Crown entity to manage the process? Why not give the money instead to the beleaguered Department of Conservation, which has had millions of dollars cut out of its budgets for several years, to start the ball rolling?

 

Reactions to predator free target

Some reactions to Government sets target to make New Zealand ‘predator-free’ by 2050

@rodemmerson:

Green Party conservation spokesman Kevin Hague…

…said welcomed the target, but said research showed it would cost $9b to make New Zealand predator-free. 

“The Government seems happy to once again put out the begging bowl to the private sector to fund what should be taken care of by the Government.

“We have real concerns over what will happen to this predator-free dream if the Government can’t attract private funding, or if that private funding dries up.”

The Greens are usually quick off the mark on policy issues but no media releases from them yet and nothing on their Facebook or Twitter.

ACT Leader David Seymour…

…has welcomed the announcement and said it echoed his own policy to sell off Landcorp and place the money it gains into a trust, so community groups and private enterprises can apply to operate inland wildlife sanctuaries.

“We’re interested in seeing how the Prime Minister plans to skip inland islands and eradicate pests from the nation wholesale.  It’s a laudable and ambitious goal, we look forward to seeing the detail.

A lot will depend on the detail.

Labour…

…is questioning the Government’s level of commitment. 

It’s far to soon to seriously question commitment. The target has only just been announced.

Predator Free New Zealand is a laudable idea but the Government has not committed any real money into killing New Zealand’s pests, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.

“The only promise is that the Government will ‘look’ to contribute one dollar for every two dollars from councils and the private sector.

“This lack of long term funding to kill our millions of pests has to be considered alongside years of funding cuts that have blunted the work of the Department of Conservation.”

Whether it’s feasible to become anywhere near predator free is being questioned.

While some think that it really is possible others have serious doubts.

But even managing to reduce rat, stoat and possum numbers by 50%, 0r 75%, would be a significant achievement – as  long as the reduced numbers were maintained.

Without continuous containment the numbers would increase again, as they have done when the predators were first introduced or introduced themselves.

Government details: Predator free by 2050

Parliament speaks on Orlando shooting

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): I seek leave to move a motion without notice to express sympathy with the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is none.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY:

I move, That the House express sympathy with the victims of the Orlando shooting. This is a shocking atrocity, and on behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to express our country’s sincere condolences to those affected by it.

As I said yesterday, no innocent person should have to worry about such violence when going about their daily lives or be persecuted for their beliefs or because of who they are.

The evening vigils that took place in Auckland, Wellington, and elsewhere were a tangible demonstration of the depth of people’s very real feelings at the scale of this atrocity.

Over the days and weeks ahead, we will learn more about the motivations behind this senseless tragedy, but right now there are many people grieving: the victims’ families and friends, and the gay and lesbian community in Florida and around the world.

All too often we see these hateful attacks and mass shootings taking the lives of innocent victims. New Zealand stands with the United States and other countries in the fight against violent extremism.

Yesterday I wrote to President Obama to express condolences on behalf of all New Zealanders.

Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends, and with those who responded to this tragic attack, and we wish those injured a speedy recovery.

ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition):

The Labour Party joins with the Government in expressing its horror at this atrocity and its love and sympathy with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and the United States, as well as their representatives here in New Zealand.

This was an atrocious and hateful act. It was an act of terror. It was also an act of hate. It was a targeted attack at the LGBTI community. It was the deliberate mass-murder of LGBTI people because of who they were and whom they loved.

These young people were attacked and murdered in a place that was meant to be safe for them. It was meant to be a haven where they could go to dance and have fun and be themselves. This was a place where they would not be subject to homophobia or violence or hatred. And in that place, in that sanctuary, they were murdered in cold blood.

Like millions of people around the word, we have all seen the heart-breaking details of what emerged about this shooting. The stories of first responders arriving at the scene to a chorus of ringing cellphones, as the families of those hurt and killed desperately tried to contact their loved ones.

The story of Eddie Justice, who was able to hide in the bathroom of the nightclub long enough to send his mother a text telling her that he loved her and whose mother then had to read the horrifying words: “He’s coming. I’m going to die.”

This attack has broken hearts around the world, but while we mourn and grieve, we must also rededicate ourselves to the great universal values of humanity, which attacks like this seek to deny and destroy: inclusion, openness, respect, love.

We must reaffirm our commitment to a society where everyone is free to love whom they choose, worship how they choose, and to be themselves without fear of violence or repression.

We must reaffirm our commitment to ending bigotry and intolerance and hatred wherever we find it, because that is what the path of true freedom demands.

While we grieve and we mourn, we remind ourselves that love is love and that love is stronger than hate, and that together we will not let hate win.

KEVIN HAGUE (Green):

I rise to support the Prime Minister’s motion and to thank him for it. The Green Party wishes to express its profound shock and sorrow at what has occurred, and its sympathies to the victims themselves, to their families, to their friends, and to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities in Orlando and around the world.

An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. I want to name this as an act of homophobic violence.

For those of us who are in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities, we know that just below the level of taunts and name-calling and subtle prejudice, there is an undercurrent of violence.

In this particular case, in Orlando, America’s absurd gun laws have been a unique enabler for the mass murder that has occurred. But New Zealand also has a history of homophobic violence; one thinks, for example, of Jeff Whittington , who just over 17 years ago was murdered in this town.

It should not be that when I and my partner or any from our communities are out in public, we should have to check who is around before we kiss or hold hands, and yet it is so.

At this time I want to ask everyone in this House and everyone listening to this debate now to pay particular attention to the needs of young and vulnerable members of our communities.

For older members of the gay community, for example, like me, we have the privilege of being able to choose whom we associate with. We have the relative privilege of being able to make ourselves as safe as we can be.

But a younger person does not have that privilege. They are particularly vulnerable; they need our support and they need our love, right now.

I also want to extend a hand of friendship and of love to Muslim communities around the world. We understand that what this man did is not representative of your communities, and we seek relationships that are based on peace and mutual respect.

A belief that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people are not entitled to what we call universal human rights, or, worse, a belief that we deserve death for being who we are, cannot be allowed to stand in the world.

In closing, we in the Green Party and, I hope, this House commit ourselves to act against homophobia and homophobic violence and, indeed, transphobic violence, wherever it occurs in the world, and we seek to be a constant voice in the world for universal respect for basic human rights. Thank you.

Peters:

Peters’ speech was widely regarded as highly inappropriate and disgraceful,  so the transcript won’t be posted.

He devoted most of his speech ignoring Orlando and trying to score political points on New Zealand immigration. About two MPs slow clapped his speech, it looks like he stunned or embarrassed even the NZ First MPs.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader—Māori Party):

No transcript has been supplied by Parliament for Flavell’s speech.

Hon PETER DUNNE (Leader—United Future):

No words, no spin, and no gloss can carry over the events that occurred in Orlando yesterday. The slaughter of nearly 50 innocent people is unacceptable by any moral or ethical standard.

Equally unacceptable, I think, is the sort of intolerance and the bigotry—because that is what it is—that gets paraded at a time like this as people start to attempt to explain these unacceptable actions.

I believe that bigotry begets bigotry, and that in turn begets the type of extremism that we saw exemplified in Orlando yesterday.

This is not an issue where one makes a moral judgment about anybody. The fact is that these young gay and lesbian people were out socialising, something they should have been able to do in perfect freedom, in perfect security, and in perfect confidence.

A madman—because that is the one thing that is certain about the perpetrator—cruelly ended that, and the questions will go on for some time as to why and how.

There will be questions about the United States’ attitude to the possession of handguns. There will be questions about the motivation of the individual. None of those actually remove the tragedy of what happened. None of those restore any of those lives, rebuild any of those families or those friendships, or rebuild those shattered communities.

We are a long way away, and I am sure that the people of the United States are not sitting by their televisions now hanging on our every words, but our expression of sympathy and solidarity with them at this time of grief counts in that it shows that as members of the world community we actually share some basic values about integrity, we share some basic values about freedom, and we share some basic values about people being able to live their lives and express their personalities to the fullest extent.

Every time we see an event like this it is a challenge to all of those values that we hold dear, even if we may not be immediately near the scene of the crime.

So I share with others the sense of outrage and the expression of condolence and sympathy to the people of the United States, and Orlando in particular, on this horrific occasion. But to start to go beyond that to draw spurious conclusions at this early stage I simply think starts to light the fuse for the next horrible outrage, and that is unacceptable.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT):

I would like to add the ACT Party’s sympathy and condolences to those messages from other leaders who have made dignified and factual contributions to this debate.

It is a great tragedy, and our thoughts are with the victims, with their families, with their communities, and particularly with the LGBTI communities of Orlando, who appear to have been deliberately targeted.

Let us remain strong in the knowledge that free and open societies have the resilience to sustain these tragedies to support each other and to grow stronger again together. Thank you.