Ruataniwha retrospective law change “excessive executive power”

New Zealand’s favourite Grandmother would burn a lot of her support if Maggie and Bill enforce their will on the Ruataniwha farm land swap, writes Sir Geoffrey Palmer

The scheme would see 22ha of protected land swapped for 170ha of nearby farmland.

Now the government has said it is considering legislating to ensure such land swaps could go ahead.

Any attempt to retrospectively reverse the court’s decision in the dam case would be deeply offensive to the rule of law and a constitutional outrage.

It’s clearly a high level of bullying.  It would be pretty similar to John Key changing the New Zealand flag even though he was told to pack his bags.   

The Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry is disingenuous to say that the department was promoting conservation when the Director-General gave it the go ahead.

If not for the dam proposal, no such swap would have been contemplated.

It also appears that, from a conservation point of view, the land the Crown would have received in the swap was not as important as that given up.

It is government policy to subsidise irrigation developments.

It is also government policy to increase agricultural exports by the intensification of agriculture.

The government seems to be less interested in protecting the environment.

It is no use hiding behind the developer here.

There are some long faces in the Hawkes Bay and the realisation that the Dodgy Socialist Dam isn’t going to happen is starting to sink in.   With the exception of the National party, who somehow believe they are going to change the law.

It’s usually Labour that are bad at maths, but without a majority, they’re going to need all their coalition partners to vote with them.

In the immortal words of Dr McCoy:  She’s dead Jim.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.