Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Communities Against The Fast-track Heartened By ‘Overwhelming’ Public Response; Disgusted By ‘Transparency’ Claims


A new coalition of community groups brought together by
their opposition to the proposed Fast-Track Bill say they
have been heartened by the overwhelming response from the
public against the Bill.

“We’ve been working hard
to get the word out there about the threats the Fast-Track
Approvals Bill poses to our communities, our environment and
local, democratic decision-making, and people have lept into
action,” says coordinator of the new ‘CAFT’
(Communities Against the Fast-Track) coalition Augusta
Macassey-Pickard.

With submissions closing today,
Macassey-Pickard says groups around the country have been
supporting a huge range of people to make their
submissions.

“It’s been overwhelming. Many people
are making submissions for the first time in their lives
because they are so concerned about the Fast-Track Bill:
people from across the board in terms of political
persuasion. They see it as a huge over-reach and a
government that has gone too far.

“As much as we are
horrified about what this Bill would mean for our
communities, we are heartened by the response and the public
push back against the Fast-Track.”

However, CAFT say
they’re disgusted by Minister Chris Bishop’s claims
today that he released the names of those the Government
invited to apply under the Bill ‘in the interests of
transparency’.

“Chris Bishop cannot claim
transparency when he released these names due to civil
society pressure and after the Ombudsman became involved,
hours before submissions close. There’s nothing
transparent about that.”

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The list released this
afternoon includes the names of companies whose projects
have been rejected by communities and by the
courts.

“Communities around the county have worked
tirelessly to stop some of the most damaging projects that
the Bill is trying to resurrect. These projects have been
rejected because of how destructive they would be. It’s
not ok for three Ministers to steamroll communities so that
companies get their way.”

“We can see that locals
would be cut out of decisions that could have enormous
consequences for their communities, their catchment, their
region. The Bill forbids projects being publicly notified so
communities wouldn’t even know about a project until it
was approved. That’s totally unacceptable and miles away
from the localism the Government campaigned
on.”

This is just the beginning of the fight against
the Bill, CAFT says.

“We’re calling on our
councils particularly to push back against the Fast-Track
Bill. Even with submissions closing today, our regional
elected representatives need to continue to stand up for
local decision making and protect our communities’ health
and well-being from exploitative industries backed by
unscrupulous Ministers.”

CAFT
members:

Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki, Kiwis
Against Seabed Mining, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Climate
Justice Taranaki, Environment and Conservation Organisations
of NZ (ECO) and individual grassroots community organisers
from around the
motu.

© Scoop Media

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