Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Message to NZ Public is Clear: Government Wants Asset Sales of NZ’s Last Wild Frontier to Happen
While the public and a growing number of New Zealand’s political parties are rallying behind the campaign to save New
Zealand’s last wilderness from “asset
sales by stealth”, the National government is hiding behind lame excuses for not engaging in the growing public debate
around this issue.
The facts make it abundantly clear to NZ voters: the government wants these private development deals to happen – and if
either of them does get approved, it will set a dangerous new precedent for New Zealand. What happens in Fiordland and
Mt Aspiring today, can happen tomorrow in Tongariro, or Abel Tasman, or wherever.
DOC has already granted approval-in-principle for both proposals, and the Minister for Conservation has given her
‘notice of her intention to grant concessions’ – which is not a neutral stance as she would like the public to believe,
but rather a clear rubber stamp of approval. Neither the Minister nor DOC will offer a timeline on when a decision will
be announced – likely sitting on their planned announcement of approval until an ‘opportune’ time when they hope the
fewest NZers will be paying attention.
No such luck for the government, however: With each passing day, public opposition to this privatisation of the last
frontier is growing, and political opposition is now also mounting – with both the Green Party and Labour Party
unequivocal in their opposition to these wilderness asset sales, and other Opposition parties poised to join in this
protest as well. Questions are now being asked all over the country: in public, in the media, and recently on the floor
Meanwhile, the government is left exposed as the principal driving force behind these destructive proposals to sell
exclusive access of the NZ wild to private developers. They want this to happen – and every day that they delay in
coming to their senses and rejecting this idea is another day that they will lose more
support among New Zealand voters.
The pointless pursuit of asset sales at any cost is already undermining this country and creating unprecedented
dissatisfaction with the present government. Selling off access to the last frontier of cherished wilderness might just
be the last straw for many.
For New Zealanders who are offended by this most extreme attempt at “asset sales by stealth”, the political consequences
are becoming increasingly clear.