Nick Smith denies giving NZ back to Maori

Environment Minister Nick Smith has dismissed renewed calls to scrap the Resource Management reforms, saying it was a fit of pique by Act Party supporters about National working with the Maori Party on the reforms.

The controversial reforms are due for a final reading in Parliament after National secured the support of the Maori Party – but are still subject to heavy criticism.

The NZ Centre for Political Research, headed by former ACT MP Muriel Newman, published full page ads and an open letter to PM Bill English calling on the Government to ditch the reforms.

The letter says ‘iwi participation agreements’ will “allow iwi chiefs to sit alongside elected council members and officials and co-govern the private property of others.”

It claims the Government is making major constitutional change and is being “held to ransom” by the Maori Party. It has been endorsed by the Hobson’s Pledge Trust – the lobby group backed by former National and Act leader Don Brash.

Smith said the ads’ claims were “misleading” and a constant refrain from the Act Party and associated people.

“The Act Party are a bit frustrated that the Government has reached an agreement with the Maori Party. I find it ironic that this was not one of the issues they highlighted when we first talked to them about the bill – only after we decided to go with the Maori Party.”

It wasn’t an issue because at the time Smith wasn’t giving?the family silverware away. ?

He said iwi would be involved in the development of council plans.

“The Government’s view is that iwi has a perspective that needs to be heard in the management of our natural resources, like water, air and the protection of native species.”

United Future Peter Dunne and Act leader David Seymour recently held a joint press conference in a last ditch attempt to get National to use them to pass the reforms instead – but hours later the Maori Party announced it had agreed to support it.

Smith said the joint offer of support from Dunne and Seymour was too little, too late.

“It was far too late in the process. We tried for nine months in 2014/15 to get Act and United Future. Their last minute attempt to do a deal would have meant the Government not acting in good faith to the Maori Party, which offered support and honoured that through the first, second and now the third readings.”

Smith does have a point there. ?ACT and the Idiot Bouffant have been playing stupid games. ?It wouldn’t altogether be unfair to blame them for causing this mess. ?Had they worked with National on RMA reform, National would not have been tempted to take up the Maori Party offer.

The whole thing is a complete stuff up.


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald