This morning Radio New Zealand reported on Nick Smith's crude attempt to bully Fish & Game into silence on water quality:
Dr Smith met the Fish and Game Council in Wellington on 18 July, and four people who attended told Radio New Zealand News he gave councillors a dressing down for their stance on trying to protect water quality in lakes and rivers.
Association of Freshwater Anglers president David Haynes, who was at the meeting, said Dr Smith was bullying the Fish and Game councillors in a clear attempt to stop it carrying out its statutory role to advocate for water quality.
But Fish and Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said Dr Smith was hostile towards his organisation at the meeting.
The minister implied he would restructure the organisation if it did not tone down its stance on water quality, and Mr Haynes had given an accurate account of what happened at the meeting, Mr Johnson told Nine to Noon.
"He said that he's worried that Fish and Game is losing its way, that Fish and Game struggles with being a Government statutory body and instead is being a rabid NGO," he said.
Smith's response? Threaten to sue for defamation in a further effort to bully those who have blown the whistle into silence. He's also released meeting notes taken by one of his officials, which show that he indeed questioned their role and was "keen to introduce an F + G Amendment Act". Whoops. As for the threat of defamation, its empty: he's a politician, and so virtually impossible to defame in a political context. But he's probably hoping no-one realises that.
I think this shows the sensitivity of the government around water quality. They know their dairy agenda has consequences for our rivers which kiwis are deeply uncomfortable with. But they're hoping to bully their way through to further enrich their farmer-cronies. The only way of stopping it is to vote them out, and vote in a government which will properly protect our waterways from the rapacious, polluting dairy industry.