Nick Smith

Now this is a game changer policy


Many politicians have claimed that this policy or¬†that policy or this person or that person is a “game changer”.

Yesterday National delivered up a definite game changer.

They have created two massive recreational fishing reserves and banned commercial operators in those zones.

This is a massive policy, one where John Key and Nick Smith have backed the hundreds and thousands of fishers vs the few companies that are commercial fishing in those areas.

It is pure realpolitik and middle New Zealand will rejoice.

Commercial fishing would be banned from the inner Hauraki gulf and the entire Marlborough Sounds if National creates new recreational fishing parks for those areas.

Prime Minister John Key announced the creation of the new parks while at Westhaven Marina in Auckland this afternoon. ¬† Read more »

Let’s talk policy: National announces help for struggling first home buyers


After Pam Corkery stole the lime light yesterday, you might be forgiven for forgetting:  the National Party also had an election launch.

Prime Minister John Key has kicked off National’s election campaign in South Auckland with a boost to Government assistance for low and middle income first-home buyers.

Grants under the Kiwisaver First home deposit Subsidy will be doubled, the house-price limits increased and scheme renamed as the Kiwisaver Homestart Grant.

At present eligible first-home buyers can get a grant of $3000 after three years in Kiwisaver, $4000 after four years and $5000 after five years.

Under the Homestart changes, those grants will be increased to $6000, $8000 and $10,000 respectively.

Mr Key said that was expected to double the number receiving a grant from 10,000 to 20,000.

The new package will cost $218 million over five years. Read more »

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

new zealand green taliban logo

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


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


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 – Len Brown –¬†didn‚Äôt 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 »