When Environment Minister Amy Adams announced an improvement to the EEZ Act, Labour leader David Cunliffe leapt in to say:
The Government has today revealed its true contempt for democratic rights by ploughing on with plans to override Parliamentary majority and gag local communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. . .
“Kiwis also lose their rights to have a say on exploratory drilling off their local beaches under new rules coming into effect today.
But the Minister points out the new legislation is an improvement on what happened under Labour:
David Cunliffe latest attempt to rewrite history on oil and gas exploration highlights an on-going, casual relationship with the truth, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.
“As a minister in the previous Labour Government, David Cunliffe knows there was no environment oversight and certainly no public involvement in the exploratory drilling process under his watch,” Ms Adams says.
“Once again he has been caught out being tricky with the truth. He is trying to create a distraction from Labour’s woeful environmental credentials.
“Under his government, 36 wells were drilled in the EEZ between 1999 and 2008 with no legislation in place to protect the environment.
“In fact, the Labour regime only required the Minister for Energy and Resources to sign a permit and required no formal environmental assessment at all. That’s it – no public comment, no submissions, no consideration of environmental effects.
“The ridiculous thing about David Cunliffe’s argument is that the EEZ Act introduced by this Government actually replaces a non-existent environmental regulatory regime for drilling in the EEZ, where the public had no say.
“Under this Government, the public will for the first time get a chance to have a say. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can call for submissions from the public prior to granting a consent for exploratory drilling, if the EPA feels it is required. And before any production drilling can take place, a full public process must be held.
“This means before an oil company can make a single dollar of profit, they have to go in front of the people of New Zealand and make sure everyone has a say in the full process.”
Oh dear, Cunliffe has been caught out again.
The new measure gives the public more say than they had before.
Perhaps Cunliffe’s new chief of staff will have a better grasp of what happened when Labour was last in government and be able to stop him leaping into an argument without the facts to back up his assertion.