Hide on the Environment

Here’s part of the speech Rodney Hide’s latest speech on environmental issues. For the full speech go here.

“ACT believes that every party needs to tackle environmental issues.

Every Kiwi needs to be aware.

New Zealand’s biggest environmental crime has been locking ourselves into big government programs, while overlooking the steps that individuals can take.

Our experience with Muldoonism has shown us that big actions, by big government, lead to big disasters.

The environment of our country is too important for us to hand over responsibility to politicians and trust them to “sort something out“.

State monopolies didn’t work for business. They aren’t working for health. They won’t work for the environment.

We need to let all our citizens get involved.

Encourage individuals, not government, to be ‘hands-on’ environmentalists.

There’s no bigger example of government interference than the Kyoto Protocol.

New Zealand’s Kyoto compliance means little or nothing to the environment.

Our carbon emissions are less than a drop in the bucket. Global warming is more about politics and research dollars than sound science.

But Kyoto will cost Kiwis a billion dollars a year.

While they’re thinking big, government has overlooked the small steps that people can take themselves.

Steps like having a fuel-efficient car.

In government, power is measured by the size of your Ministerial limo.

But people love seeing my little Smart car around Epsom.

They know their MP is thinking globally, and acting locally.

But when it comes to conservation, we let people do very little.

Thousands of Kiwis who care about our country want to make a difference.

Enjoying ‘the great outdoors’ is our Kiwi pastime.

Yet our contribution to protecting it is limited to protesting and going to court.

ACT wants to encourage practical environmentalism.

We should accept that non-governmental organisations have a role in looking after our precious wildlife.

We could put our national parks into trusts for ordinary, caring New Zealanders to join and run.

We could reward Iwi and businesses that take greater care of their communities.

There is a place for the Department of Conservation, but it should work in partnership with local people who love the land.

Thanks to red tape, private conservation is endangered.

But it is not extinct.

We should learn from the Kiwi Recovery Programme. The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Christchurch’s own Roger Beattie.

Roger Beattie is passionate about Canterbury’s eastern buff weka.

He set up the mainland’s first large predator-proof reserve in 1994.

Now he’s trying to encourage other people to set up their own small predator-free enclosures to bring weka back to Christchurch.

Red tape makes it hard, but DOC makes it harder.

It took Roger two years to get his last permit to transport and hold weka.

And while DOC say they want to re-establish weka in Christchurch, they kill up to 400 a year on the Chatham Islands.

The know-how and technology to re-introduce weka to Canterbury is available. Those who want to bring in and breed weka need to be encouraged. They certainly don’t need to be hampered and held up every step of the way by the same bureaucrats charged with caring for our rare and endangered species.

I get the feeling that DOC is scared of the competition. Given DOC’s performance, they have every reason to be.

We should be supporting people like Roger Beattie in their private conservation efforts – not hindering them. Big State monopolies don’t care for the planet – but people do.

Getting people involved in private conservation gives them an active role in looking after our country.

Where the State gets involved, it should focus on taking care of its core duties.

Like making sure that justice is done.”

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