Nick Smith’s Contempt for Local Democracy

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Steve Tollestrup

Nick Smith’s contention this morning that ‘small’ councils do not have the expertise to make decisions on  environmental issues such as oil and gas exploration in their regions should sound alarm bells with Waitakere voters.

Nick Smith, who by the way is not an environmental specialist, but a civil engineer with a PhD in landslides, considers that the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed to expedite resource consent favourable to the National government’s economic vision be the authority to move the process through quickly with minimal local contestability. Something this minister considers a nuisance.

His charge that small councils lack the capacity is challenged by Taranaki Regional Council Resource Management Director Fred McLay who disagrees saying his council has successfully regulated for thirty years and if anything jurisdiction should be expanded.

Future West agrees. Local councils, in touch with their constituents have the capacity and ability to make decisions affecting their own communities. Waitakere voters have been given the priviledge of living among one of this country’s most important and spectacular wilderness environments, waterways and coast. It is something we all value and take pride in. Central government appointed professionals who run roughshod over ‘small councils’ take away that basic democratic right and are not wanted in Waitakere. Remember where the expert opinion on mining wanted to take the Coromandel?

Waitakere voters want strong local democracy and the right to make decisions around their own environment . Future West will keep it local and democratic- and that’s a promise we make and keep to you.

I have no doubt National’s local body proxy, Citizen and Ratepayers, would hand that democratic right and control over to Wellington in a heartbeat.



  1. Neil Henderson says:

    Hi Steve,thought I would share some information about the waitakeres that is not generally known.In the forties there was a serious attempt to prospect managnese in the waitakeres .To the extent that throughout the ranges there still exist deep holes for the unwary to fall into ,left as a result of this exploration.Fortunately the focus moved elsewhere and the hunuas were mined successfully for a number of years.The managanese is still in the ranges and at the moment Wild ginger,also known as kahili ginger is the only miner.This pest plant is able to accumulate up to 2000 parts per million(ppm) an extraordinary amount considering that the base line concentration of this element is usualyy about 50ppm.lets hope that Mn does not enjoy the popularity that lithium currently holds.

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