“Taranaki residents are outraged at the Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) untimely consultation plans on the draft Guidelines for Local Government: Managing the Environmental Effects of Petroleum Development Activities, including Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking)” says Emily Bailey from Climate Justice Taranaki.
The consultation period for the documentation spans just four weeks, ending on November 1st, when most councils are not yet meeting for the new term, following the election of new councillors. “It makes you wonder if MfE timed this on purpose to avoid proper consultation with elected representatives. Will council CEOs be responding to the MfE guidelines on behalf of us without inputs from councillors at all?” continued Bailey.
As an Officer of Parliament, the Commissioner’s job is to hold the government to account for its environmental policies and actions. Independent of the government of the day, the Commissioner reports directly to Parliament. “Thousands of people, including members of parliament and councils have called on the Commissioner to thoroughly investigate the safety of fracking in Aotearoa. It is important that her report is taken seriously. MfE should not be charging ahead without consideration of the Commissioner’s final report and recommendations.” says Bailey.
“It is also pointless that the proposed new guidelines will not be compulsory and do not represent any change on government policy on fracking. It just leaves you thinking this is complete greenwash.”
“MfE is set up to protect our environment not further economic experiments at the cost of the environment and human health. We are already seeing democratic processes being stripped offshore with new EEZ legislation that denies the rights to protest and consultation. There are widespread concerns about fracking and deep sea oil drilling in the US and Australia where we are seeing health problems, massive environmental degradation and billion dollar law suits.”
“MfE must protect our environment. They should wait for the Commissioner’s final report and make sure that its findings and recommendations are addressed in the draft guidelines, prior to consultation.” says Emily Bailey from Climate Justice Taranaki.
Group criticises fracking consultation timeframe (NZ Radio, 14 Oct)
Residents ‘outraged’ at lack of fracking feedback time (Marborough Express, 16 Oct)