Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Another failure of "collaboration"

When they were in power, National liked to use "collaborative processes" to deal with environmental issues. In theory, this means getting environmental advocates and environmental destroyers together in a room, to try and find common ground. In practice, it meant using the collaborative process to silence and suborn "critics" while increasing social licence to pollute. The process used for water fell apart messily, when environmental groups figured out it was a sham, publicly called bullshit and abandoned it. And now another of National's sham collaborations has fallen apart:

The group set up to get agreement for the first marine reserves on the Otago coast has failed to get consensus and handed in two different plans.

Representatives of the fishing industry and environmental lobby say the process has failed and they are bitterly disappointed with the outcome.

The South-East Marine Protection Forum has been meeting for four years to identify areas to protect on the coast between Timaru and Waipapa Point in Southland.


The report spells out two separate proposals, one by the environmental and tourism representatives to protect 14 percent of the coastline (covering 1267sq/km), and the other led by the commercial fishing industry for 4 percent (366sq/km) of the coast.

Neither proposal meets the aim set for the forum of reaching a single proposal to protect parts of all the marine habitats found along the coast, though the first, dubbed Network 1, is much closer.

The central problem here is that there really isn't any middle ground to find. Environmental advocates and the fishing industry have opposed goals, and so "collaboration" was always pointless. All it did was potentially boost social licence for the fishers. And why would anybody want to do that?

The decision on Otago marine reserves is now in the hands of Ministers. Hopefully we'll see something closer to Network 1 than Network 2.