The new Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage recently announced that her Department would take a more active advocacy role. Given my long and somewhat bitter personal past experience of seeing the advocacy role in Environment Court hearings being dominated by ministries of energy, mining or business development, this was a very welcome development. So I wrote to the Minister asking that her Department become actively involved in advocating for conservation, and by opposing the Thames-Coromandel Mangrove Management Bill.
The reply I received as as follows.
The most interesting and encouraging part is where the Department clearly favours continued use of the existing Resource Management Act to deal holistically with mangroves through “the regional coastal plan supported by fresh water and land use planning.”
The Department along with the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for the Environment will all be providing advice to the Select Committee. It will be very surprising if those two other departments/ministries take a different view from the Department of Conservation.
I always believed this Local Bill was nothing more than political puffery. Now that relevant government departments will almost certainly oppose it, it seems pretty much certain that the Bill is dead in the water. Good job. Hopefully we can get on with a “comprehensive integrated program to solve the sediment problem” that DoC favours, and ensure our coasts are better protected from storm surges and erosion due to climate change