National's Bulldozer Lurches Onwards
The National Government barely paused after their humiliating by-election loss in Northland. In his normal cavalier and dismissive manner Key shrugged off the defeat, "so I got it wrong on that one, but that's the way it goes." He immediately dropped National's bulldozer down a gear and lurched forward again.
Although National have recently been claiming that the changes to the RMA were the crucial component to solving our housing crisis, it seems they were being disingenuous. As soon as it was clear that the Government no longer had the numbers to weaken the environmental protections within the Act, the plans were promptly ditched. The speed of the reversal emphasises the fact that there were few convincing arguments to support the changes in the first place. If they were so crucial for the development of low cost housing one would have expected a more determined fight.
Rather than dwell on yet another failure National just thumbed their noses at the thousands of environmentally concerned New Zealanders who marched in Auckland and opened up over 40,000 square kilometers of our territorial waters for oil exploration and 4,000 on shore. While Simon Bridges claimed that finding new reserves of oil is important to support the transition to using cleaner energy, the main focus of this Government is still firmly on fossil fuel and pandering to oil companies.
National's bulldozer is powered by oil, milk and a cheap and powerless workforce. The effects on our environment and people to maintain its smoking and destructive progress is substantial and to limit dissent and protest the true extent of the damage being done is deliberately hidden.
National's bulldozer is always preceded by its growing team of PR people who shape and spin its image before it comes into view. Members of the same team follow the bulldozer to cover and hide the damage from the New Zealand public.
The damage coverups are managed by hiding and withholding revealing data and information. If the public do not know the real extent of the damage caused then they will more readily accept the spin. Official Information Act requests are routinely delayed or unnecessarily refused and our Ombudsman are under-resourced for coping with the rapidly increasing workload. While the funding has increased dramatically for the PMs office, and his multiple press secretaries, Statistics NZ is laying off staff. Independent reporting on our environment, education and levels of poverty is actively discouraged.
Amy Adams has announced the areas that will be included in the next environmental report and it appears that much of the statistics directly related to the Government's drive to grow dairy production have been excluded. A comprehensive and independent review is being replaced with cherry picked statistics that have an economic rather than environmental focus.
National is relying on the fact that most of their bulldozer's emissions aren't visible and fewer people are bothered about swimming in our rivers. A considerable number of New Zealanders are falling in the path of the bulldozer and are being squashed and flattened, but because increasing numbers of them don't vote and have limited avenues for redress (legal aid has been cut by a third), they can be ignored and dismissed.
National's bulldozer lurches onwards.