Wednesday, July 12, 2017

National's new Muldoonism

What's National's plan for the economy? Apparently, it is to suspend all environmental law for their cronies:

Forest & Bird can reveal that for 18 months, the Government investigated creating ‘Special Economic Zones’ to push through contentious developments, including coal mining on the Buller Plateau.

Special economic zone legislation would give the Government powers to take conservation land and private land, provide tax breaks for favoured developers, and override overseas investment and immigration controls.

“We’re talking about zones where normal environmental, social and democratic safeguards don’t apply,” says Mr Hague.

National has already pulled this stunt once, with "Special Housing Areas" giving free licence to property developers (who then sat on the approvals and didn't build anything, or if they did build something, sold it all to speculators). But SHAs only short-circuited the usual RMA process. SEZ's go much further, and effectively equate to a total suspension of all law which might interfere with business. The protections of the Conservation Act, Reserves Act, National Parks Act and Crown Minerals Act against mining on protected land? Gone. RMA requirements to consider and mitigate adverse environmental impacts? Gone. Ignoring the Immigration Act (which prevents people from simply importing a cheap workforce from overseas) or Overseas Investment Act (preventing investments by foreign criminals and money launders) is just the icing on the cake.

Back in the 80's, Muldoon passed special enabling legislation for the Clyde Dam, his pet project. But this goes much further. It's Clyde Dam 2.0, a general framework for central government to support the projects of favoured projects in defiance of the law. And it shows the same arrogance and disregard for the environment and the rule of law as piggy did all those years ago.

As for those wondering (as National pollster DPF mischievously did yesterday) why the Greens can't work with National, this is why: because at its core, the National Party is an anti-environment party, dedicated to destroying our natural heritage and impoverishing future generations for the profit of their cronies. And until that mindset fundamentally changes, no party dedicated to protecting the environment can possibly work with them. It is that simple.