Minister Tells Councils To Break The Law In Latest Attack On Our Environment

Published: Thu 14 Mar 2024 01:52 PM
The Associate Minister for the Environment, Hon Andrew Hoggard, has today told Councils to suspend further work on identifying Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) in their plans.
“This is the latest in a rolling maul of attacks on the constitution and environment by the Government. Today’s announcement is driven by a minor party. It represents Executive overreach in a way not seen since the 1970s,” said EDS CEO, Gary Taylor.
“Minister Hoggard is showing a reckless disregard for the rule of law. He is directing Councils to break the law.
“The proper way to suspend work on SNAs is to change the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity through the legal process set out in the Resource Management Act. That process allows for public engagement and ensures evidenced-based decision-making.
“Ministers do not have power to suspend legal requirements by Executive fiat. Councils must ignore this latest directive.
“The legal principle being subverted here is set out in the seminal case Fitzgerald v Muldoon in which the Court held: That the pretended power of suspending of laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of Parliament, is illegal.
“Quite apart from the cavalier disregard for constitutional propriety, the instruction is another attempted step by the Government in its war on nature. Our biodiversity is in crisis with over 4,000 species threatened or at risk of extinction. Rolling back hard-fought protections that were the product of an agreement, including with Federated Farmers, ignores that evidence and is unacceptable.
“The way these attacks on our environment are mounting is incredibly concerning and the Courts will have to be asked to intervene,” Mr Taylor concluded.
Environmental Defence Society
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