New Zealanders will pay more for their electricity and have less security of supply as a result of Maori spiritual arguments over the Resource Management Act, says National's Environment spokesman Nick Smith.
He is commenting on yesterday's Environment Court decision that will allow power generator Genesis to use water from the Whanganui River for only a further 10 years.
"It is political correctness gone mad when key decisions on infrastructure are made on the basis that diverting the Whanganui River for hydro development will adversely affect Maori spiritual beliefs and self-esteem," Dr Smith says.
"Maori families struggle to pay their power bills like everyone else, and keeping their children warm at a reasonable cost is far more important than any spiritual attachment to water hundreds of kilometres away.
"This decision is also concerning in that it invites Maori and Genesis to have 'a meeting of the minds' over the next 10 years to resolve the future use of the water. This is an invitation for backhanders, given the huge value of electricity and the leverage that Whanganui iwi will have over Genesis.
"It highlights the urgent need to reform the Resource Management Act. We have seen roads diverted for the taniwha and now electricity generation is being compromised because of Maori spirits.
"This will send a further shiver down the spine of the electricity industry, which cannot invest with any certainty with this length of consent," Dr Smith says.
Source: Scoop Independent News: Press Release New Zealand National Party, Tuesday 25 May 2004
“the third point I want to make is a broader question. It is in respect of the Resource Management Act. At the weekend we saw reported what I think is a very sad development for New Zealand. This country takes great pride in being a corruption-free country, a country where things are done upfront.
We saw through the resource management process, a payment to Tainui of over $1 million. On exactly the same day the deal was drafted, an Environment Court Appeal was withdrawn. We are to believe that it is a co-incidence that the funding agreement just happens to expire on 1 January 2023, the day that the resource consent expires. This is a very sad reflection on Carter Holt Harvey. It is a sad reflection on Tainui. I believe that there are dozens of such cases. The only thing that is unique about this one is that it was reported because of the internal wrangles within Tainui” .
Dr Nick Smith, June 13 2001
1. New Zealand Hansard archives: Wednesday, June 13 2001; Dr Nick Smith: Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Amendment Bill: Third Reading http://www.vdig.net/hansard/archive.jsp?y=2001&m=06&d=13&o=70&p=74
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