Today’s passage of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is a sad day for democracy and may cost the National Party the election, Hobson’s Pledge leader Don Brash said today.
The National Party only managed to get the contentious piece of legislation through with the help of their two friends in the Maori Party.
Upon request, Environment Minister Nick Smith inserted Mana Whakahono a Rohe clauses into a bill intended to streamline resource management and these changes will involve iwi appointees in plan making, consenting, appointing committees, monitoring and enforcing bylaws.
Iwi will also be involved in the allocation of our drinking water.
These clauses were agreed behind closed doors, with no public consultation, no warning, and no published meeting agendas or minutes.
The tragic thing about these new clauses is that to appease the Maori Party, these amendments will slow down every resource consent when the purpose of the reform was to speed them up.
Respected constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks confirms the gravity of the situation:
He said that “the provisions are a major constitutional change. They subordinate powers entrusted to elected local governments, in deliberately obscure words, to racially inherited power, beyond the reach of electoral recall.”
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is already campaigning against race-based clauses in this bill.
The trickle of disappointed former National Party voters to New Zealand First can turn into a flood as the result of National Party MPs not only ignoring the concerns of their constituents, but openly slandering them as racist.
Support for National on this issue is slumping just months out from an election and Prime Minister Bill English seems blissfully unaware of what he is sleepwalking into.