FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A New Way Of Governing?

Quietly changing the game

By Bill Benfield

Several things have happened in the last week or so that are beginning to make me think there is a new style of governance coming to New Zealand.

Prior to that, back in May last year, an order in council changing the game for a private company called OSPRI that spreads 1080 poison to combat Tb in a Tb free land.

The order changed definitions of Tb incidence and time-frames, it was quietly slipped through the house. It was interesting in that the whole deal was shaped by an anonymous and clandestine “steering committee”. It is now law.

Nick Smith calls the shots

The next one was Nick Smith changing the rules to take the discharge of aerial contaminants section out of the RMA and put it under direct ministerial control.

This way, spreading, specifically brodifacoum and 1080, could be taken from the act and be discharged over the land by ministerial direction with no local government involvement or local objection.

Next to appear was Urban Development Authorities. They are a new concept in planning, short cutting the RMA, District Schemes and local input and so putting urban development under direct ministerial control.

Make clean water dirtier

It is probably not the last, because I suspect there may be more changes going on than I have found, but river water quality and monitoring has recently come under the spotlight.

It should normally be an activity of regional government and district health officers but now the ground rules have been changed by ministerial direction. Clean water can now have a far higher E coli count than it did a week ago.

It is interesting that in the last three cases, the minister involved seems to be Nick Smith.