Nick Smith

Nick, stop being a dick

Nick Smith is getting all pus-faced and threatening legal action.

It shows he has been got at…and very unbecoming of a minister to resort to throwing around threats of legal action.

You either sue or don’t sue, you don’t whine about thinking about suing.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith has rejected allegations of political interference, after he was accused of “bullying” Fish and Game into pulling an advocacy campaign for cleaning up rivers and lakes.

Smith said he was considering legal action against Association of Freshwater Anglers president David Haynes, who made the allegations.

Haynes said Smith was highly critical of Fish and Game over the course of a Fish and Game Council meeting, held in Wellington this month.

“Nick Smith is very good at talking at and over people I think, and he was wading into them and they sat very quietly and listened to what he was saying,” Haynes told Morning Report.

“From my perspective they were very clearly being castigated, it could be construed as political interference – this was about telling Fish and Game to wind their neck in.”

The allegations were centred on a series of billboards, which called for greater protections to keep rivers and lakes clean.

Fish and Game is an independent organisation, which collects its funding through fees for fishing and hunting licenses.

It has statutory obligations to oversee fish and game management and ensure effective management of the country’s sports fish and game resources.

[...] ¬†¬† Read more »

They might have Cunliffe’s blessing but did they follow the rules

David Cunliffe says he gave the two renegades his blessing for crossing the floor.

Two Labour MPs crossed the floor yesterday to vote in support of a bill allowing the recovery of native timber felled in a cyclone.

Parliament went into urgency to pass the West Coast Windblown Timber Bill through all its stages.

Labour opposed the legislation after its bid to have it heard by a select committee was rejected by National. However, South Island MPs Damien O’Connor and Rino Tirikatene broke ranks to back the new law.

Leader David Cunliffe gave them his blessing. “Damien and Rino are acting as local MPs and as such the Labour caucus and I support them,” he said.

O’Connor, the West Coast Tasman MP, asked the Government to amend the bill to ensure locals would get preferential access and the major benefits of the extraction of windblown trees.

“While I am disappointed Conservation Minister Nick Smith will not amend the legislation to guarantee West Coasters get much-needed jobs and revenue, I still believe this timber should be utilised,” he said.

I’m told that the “blessing” was really rather something else indeed after a massive fight erupted in caucus on Tuesday.¬† Read more »

Cunliffe has lost control of his caucus, O’Connor and Tirikatene to cross the floor [UPDATED]

David Cunliffe’s parlous poll ratings for the party have seen the first MPs to buck the whip and cross the floor to vote in favour of the¬†West Coast Windblown Timber Bill.

When your party polls so low the sitting MPs retrench back to their electorates and that is what you are seeing here as Damien O’Connor knows Labour’s opposition to this is death for his own electoral chances.

Labour’s MP for West Coast Tasman Damien O’Connor and Labour’s MP for Te Tai Tonga Rino Tirikatene will vote for the West Coast Windblown Timber Bill in their capacities as local MPs.

Damien O‚ÄôConnor says: “While I am disappointed Conservation Minister Nick Smith will not amend the legislation to guarantee West Coasters get much needed jobs and revenue, I still believe this timber should be utilised.

“The West Coast lost almost 1000 well-paid jobs after the National Government ran Solid Energy into the ground by forcing it to increase debt and pay out dividends at a time when coal prices were unsustainably high. This almost crippled the company and the West Coast community along with it.¬† Read more »

Greenpeace not a political lobbying group? Go on pull the other one

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Greenpeace claims they are a charity, the Charities Commission disagrees and says they are a political lobbying group.

Greenpeace maintains they don’t engage in that stuff, and yet almost every week they are campaigning and so it is this week too.

Greenpeace has collected 23,000 signatures from people who want Energy Minister Simon Bridges sacked for allowing oil exploration in a marine mammal sanctuary.

The petition is a response to fears that Maui’s dolphins, the world’s most endangered species, will be threatened with extinction.

There are only 55 left and they live off the west coast of the North Island.¬† Read more »

Auckland Council likely to fail on first year of Special Housing and blame government

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Auckland Council are widely expected to ramp up their public relations in the next few months leading up to the October deadline that marks the first year of the Housing Accord. ‚Äč

There is a lot of pressure on the Council to perform to Minister Smith’s expectations – the delivery of 39,000 consented houses in 3 years. The question is – will Council genuinely be able to deliver consent approvals under the SHA or will they fall short and start to cover their backsides with PR spin and rhetoric.

‚ÄčSo far it looks like the latter is more likely.

Housing project office director Ree Anderson told the council‚Äôs Auckland development committee yesterday ‚Äčthat ‚Äčthe ‚ÄčHPO anticipated 3 district plan variation applications being lodged in the next 3 months for development in 3 of the 63 special housing areas approved under the accord so far.

She then went on to report that‚Äč net consents for homes & sections in the first half of the first year of the accord totalled 5134 and that 3417 homes had been consented so far and 6834 were anticipated for the full year to September. 2763 section consents had been granted and 5526 were anticipated for the full year.

‚Äč‚ÄčAt first glance that would appear to suggest the housing office has been busy granting consents but the trickiness of Council is ever present and the figures quoted by Ms Anderson are for consents in general – nothing at all to do with Special Housing Areas.

The Housing office has officially received¬†2¬†consent applications. Yes that’s right folks – two! ¬† Read more »

Here they come Len. This is what deliberate sabotage earns you

Len Brown needs more money.

He’s got the rate payers to a point where they are no longer willing to put up with his ridiculous rates rises. ¬†So now he has to fiddle around the edges by introducing parking charges in all suburbs of Auckland. ¬†And… rejigging the water charges, starting with new connections.

The [Auckland] council-owned Watercare Services this week announced it would charge an additional $2300 for each new home or apartment connecting to its network.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said the move was not helpful at a time when there was a focus on trying to make housing more affordable.

Watercare’s move takes to $12,075 the fee it will charge for new connections. It is lower than the fee charged by some councils, but the company said it still covered only 30 percent of the cost of new infrastructure.

Dr Smith said work underway by his ministry and Treasury is looking at the charging practices of network companies which service new housing areas, including water and electricity and phone networks.

He said at present, the legislation governing Watercare Services meant it was outside the reach of local government law changes, bringing in new checks on how much can be charged for new developments. Read more »

Len and Auckland Council telling porkies about SHA consents and housing

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Len Brown was on Radio Live with Duncan¬†Garner last¬†night spouting on about how many consents that Auckland Council has consented in the year to date¬†and patting himself and his Council¬†on their own¬†backs for¬†‚Äėdelivering‚Äô outcomes.

But its all a numbers game using smoke machines and mirrors. The master of slipperiness РLen Brown - didn’t want to answer how many dwelling consents have been approved for developments on SHA (Special Housing Areas) land. And nor could he say how many consents have resulted in construction starts or houses built.

And the reason why he slipped and slid around the questions is because the answer is that not much of anything is consented under SHA’s and not much is being built.

Auckland Council is merely going through the motions. Being seen to be doing things. Because running about town designating land into SHA’s is as easy as farting.

But consenting them and delivering infrastructure – that’s a different kettle of fish.

Developers and land owners are starting to find that the idea of the SHA is noble and can work but its a crap idea if its in the hands of Auckland Council. ¬† Read more »

Monorail cancelled, Lyle Lanley despondent, moving on to Shelbyville

Nick Smith has announced that he has declined the application to build the Monorail in Fiordland.

The application by Riverstone Holdings Limited to build and operate a $240 million monorail in Fiordland has been declined by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.

‚ÄúThis proposal does not stand up either economically or environmentally. The independent tourism and financial analysis concluded it was not viable. There would be a significant impact on the area‚Äôs flora, fauna and natural heritage. The route is not sufficiently defined to properly assess the impacts,‚ÄĚ Dr Smith says.¬† Read more »

John Key ultimately responsible for 4 yr old’s death

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via NZ Herald

Amy Maas reports

The family of a young boy killed on his way to a park after being struck by a car are upset Housing New Zealand dug up their front lawn, leaving their children without anywhere safe to play.

Housing New Zealand reports to associate ministers Paula Bennett and Tariana Turia, and housing minister Nick Smith. ¬† And of course, they report to Prime Minister John Key. ¬†So the real person to take this hit is going to have to be John Key. ¬† Read more »

Dodgy socialist council keeps councillors in the dark, and last corporate investor bails out of dam plan

The completely dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council has sunk to a new low.

The council got the bum’s rush from the Board of Inquiry when they tried to get three scientists to change their story about turning the Tukituki River toxic by not managing Nitrogen. Fortunately the Board was wise to this and pointed out it couldn‚Äôt understand why three scientists had changed their mind with no real science behind it.

Now the council staff have pissed off a group of councillors by not letting them see the submission to the Board of Inquiry. The council staff seem to think that they have councillors just to rubber stamp things, not to actually have any input.

Councillor Rex Graham, on behalf of fellow councillors Rick Barker, Tom Belford and Peter Beaven, has written to Conservation Minister Nick Smith and Environment Minister Amy Adams to tell them the four councillors have not had any input into the councils submission to the board of inquiry.

The councillors are upset council staff sent the submission, commenting on the boards draft proposal, without it being signed off at a council meeting.

They have asked the ministers for the opportunity to lodge their own submission on the boards proposal. “I would have thought that, as an elected representative, I would have seen [the submission] and been able to debate it,” Mr Graham told Hawkes Bay Today.

“We have to sign off documents this important. This is a fundamental, in-principle thing. We have had a board of inquiry present us with their thoughts and their proposal and we are essentially challenging that. I would have thought its huge. I would have thought its a major, fundamental thing, he said. If the executives [council staff] make the decisions, then why do we have an election?” Read more »