John Key is worried about “environmental concerns” of a natural event.
Thousands of tonnes of rock and rubble displaced in the Kaikoura Earthquake can be pushed into the sea without consent from local authorities under emergency law changes to be introduced tomorrow.
The legislation will also give the Government authority to immediately dredge Kaikoura’s seabed to improve boat access.
Speaking at his weekly press conference this afternoon, Prime Minister John Key said two new bills relating to earthquake recovery would be passed under urgency in Parliament tomorrow. A third bill will be debated on Thursday and go through a shortened public consultation process.
The changes would “allow us to rectify the situation as quickly as possible”, Key said.
The legislation has broad support, though the Greens are expected to object to some parts of the it on environmental grounds.
Key admitted there were some environmental concerns about dredging the seabed and pushing coastal landslips into the ocean off Kaikoura, which is home to whale and dolphin species.
He has not had any advice on potential impacts to marine habitats, but said “obviously that’s the area that has some concerns”.
“In the first instance, Mother Nature’s already done a fair bit of [damage], just spilt rocks into the sea anyway.”Secondly, I think it comes down to what’s practical…. I don’t think it’s practical to just take a lot of those rocks out.”
Environmental concerns? Seriously?
What does John Key think happened to the bits of land that were there 200 years ago and now aren’t? Way before we came along and put an important rail and road link on top of what used to be the cliff?
The whales and dolphins aren’t stupid, they will swim a bit further out and about two months after it’s all pushed into the sea, nature will have sorted it all out. About a month ago we had a big storm, and part of the cliff near my house came down onto the beach. The council came out and put up a sign and some danger tape. Two king tides have sorted out the plastic tape…it’s out to sea somewhere…and most of the slip. The bay is still beautiful and clear despite all that debris from the slip ending up in the tide.
The whale watching industry has lobbied for the Kaikoura harbour to be dredged urgently. The seabed lifted by several metres in the Magnitude 7.8 quake on November 14, blocking operators from leaving the harbour outside a two-hour window at high tide.
Moving would be cheaper.
Key ruled out permanent legislation which gave the Government special powers after any major natural disaster. He said the Christchurch and Kaikoura quakes required very different responses, and it would be difficult to create “one size fits all” legislation without raising concerns about potential misuse of powers.
Make it permanent. Saves having to pass urgent laws everytime there is an earthquake…especially if the next one flattens Wellington.
– NZ Herald