The Minister for the Environment, David Benson-Pope, has released his decision [PDF] on the Whangamata marina, granting it resource consent, but with more stringent conditions than those proposed by the Environment Court. The Whangamata Marina Society is of course pleased, and National is calling it "an embarassment for Labour", but I don't think so. As I pointed out earlier in the year, the questions at issue were not questions of facts, but questions of values: the value of a salt marsh, the value of local iwi being able to collect kaimoana, and the value of (some forms of) recreational use. Such questions are the essence of politics, and are things on which people can disagree (in fact, not just can, but will, as there's no universally agreeable way of ranking such values). All the decision tells us is that Benson-Pope values these things rather differently to Carter - and that I'd rather have the latter as Minister for the Environment than the former.