Maybe there is a God and if so she has to be a left winger. Latest events are trashing John Key’s carefully constructed persona of being an ordinary dude who is good to have a beer with and cares about everyone and have highlighted his fundamental weakness. He is not a former Housing Corp house dweller done good trying to make New Zealand a better place for all of us. He is part of the 1% and totally indifferent to the damage to societies and governments that tax evasion by the rich causes.
The trouble with issues surrounding Mossack Fonseca is that there is that much information and so many deals to be investigated the Government must feel like it is playing whack-a-mole in trying to deal with the fallout.
The Labour Party says says it has identified the Mossack Fonseca client who got approval to buy sensitive land in New Zealand.
RNZ National is reporting Labour MP David Cunliffe saying that the decision was about the sale of Onetai Station in North Taranaki in 2014 to Ceol & Muir, a Mossack Fonseca client.
Following the news of the leak early this month, the Overseas Investment Office started to review its approvals and applications to see if any involved Mossack Fonseca and found the 2014 decision, RNZ National reports.
Minister for Land Information Louise Upston asked the office to review the application to ensure it was appropriately assessed and that any concerns were properly investigated. She said, if any were found, she expected the OIO to take appropriate action.
The OIO was continuing to go through its records to see if any other approvals were connected with Mossack Fonseca.
The OIO’s 2014 decision showed an application for overseas investment in sensitive land, being the “applicant’s acquisition of a freehold interest in approximately 1,317.2122 hectares of land at 1437 Manganui Road, Awakino, Northern Taranaki.
“The overseas investment transaction has satisfied the criteria in section 16 of the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The ‘substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand’ criteria were satisfied by particular reference to the following factors,” the application said citing jobs, additional investment for development, indigenous vegetation and fauna and walking access.
UPDATE 4/11/15 This article has been edited for clarity.
For over a hundred years, conservation has been a value held in high regard by a majority of Americans. But if Republicans have their way, all the lands we have fought to protect as National Forests and Wildernesses could be handed over to private industry.
Last month, nearly every Republican in the US Senate voted on a budget amendment allowing states to seize public lands, which means every National Forest in the country would be subject to the whims of state lawmakers who could authorize the selling of these lands to private industries for exploitation.
And by exploitation, that means deforestation of lumber resources, the privatization of freshwater sources, drilling and mining for oil and minerals, or used as dumping grounds for hazardous materials. In short, Republicans would be allowing private industries to buy and rape our public land reserves until they are unrecognizable.
The amendment, known as SA 838, was introduced by Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski. And it sailed through the Senate by a 51-49 vote with all but three Republicans in favor while every Democrat voted against it. A rival bill that would stop the effort to sell public lands was prevented from coming up for a vote.
Of course, Murkowski spun the amendment as a way to improve conservation.
“When we have an opportunity to consider this amendment, a vote for it is really a vote in support of — as a priority of this Congress — comprehensive approaches to land policies to facilitate economic development, empower States and improve our conservation systems,” she said.
Here’s a handy image via Gizmodo listing the Senators who voted for and against the amendment.
But by passing this amendment, Republicans are not only destroying precious natural treasures that Americans have been enjoying for generations, they are proving once again that they don’t care about this country.
Under this amendment, national forests and wildernesses that have been protected for future generations of Americans to enjoy would be put up for sale, which could very well threaten natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the Florida Everglades, and Yellowstone in the future since Republicans have very recently suggested mining and drilling in and around them.
And that is the wet dream of oil companies, chemical companies, and mining companies who would love nothing more than take every resource they can their greedy hands on until there is nothing left. And you can forget about taking your family to enjoy a nice outing at these parks since the new owners would likely put big ole “PRIVATE PROPERTY” and “NO TRESPASSING” signs up to give Americans the middle finger.
According to Gizmodo, those signs would likely be put up by people like the Koch brothers:
Efforts to “reclaim” public land are financially support by special interest groups like ALEC and Americans For Prosperity. ALEC is primarily funded by ExxonMobil while Americans For Prosperity was founded by David and Charles Koch.
Republicans are so obsessed with taking public lands so they can sell them in the name of profit that they have also pissed off one of their key constituencies: hunters and sportsmen.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a national sportsman organization, blasted the amendment as a destructive measure that would strip the nation of lands that future generations of America should be able to enjoy long into the future, and called for a nationwide backlash.
“Public lands are the fabric that binds America together, and last night’s vote by the Senate sends an alarming message to sportsmen and -women – along with every citizen who values our publicly owned resources. Nationally, an organized, concerted movement is underway to sell off and limit access to America’s public lands and waters. These are not merely the actions of a lunatic fringe. Now is the time to double down and fight back against this ill-conceived idea.”
It’s even more saddening when you consider that Republicans used to champion conservation going all the way back to former President Theodore Roosevelt, who once said:
“Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”
And then there’s this gem from former President Ronald Reagan:
“The preservation of parks, wilderness, and wildlife has also aided liberty by keeping alive the 19th century sense of adventure and awe with which our forefathers greeted the American West. Many laws protecting environmental quality have promoted liberty by securing property against the destrutctive trespass of pollution. In our own time, the nearly universal appreciation of these preserved landscapes, restored waters, and cleaner air through outdoor recreation is a modern expression of our freedom and leisure to enjoy the wonderful life that generations past have built for us.”
But this current Republican Party is now an enemy of the environment, and one comment on Gizmodo summed up the new GOP perfectly.
“I mean we all know the Republicans are basically the villains from Captain Planet come to life.
UPDATE 4/11/15 at 4:10pm: This article has been edited to reflect that the bill in question would allow states to seize National Forests and public lands outside of National Parks. We regret the error. However, such actions would threaten National Parks and sources have been provided showing that Republicans have proposed opening up National Parks to resource exploitation by oil and mining companies.
My rage, shame and grief knows no bounds as I share this.
I remember what used to be a pristine little lake at Little River on Banks Peninsular,east of Christchurch (our friends lived across the road), from my childhood.
I know people (mostly in high places), who should be frogmarched down to this lake and have their heads rubbed in it.
Canterbury’s poisonous Lake Forsyth kills sheep, full of green slime
Poisonous water in a Canterbury lake has killed sheep and household pets, after recurring algal blooms made the water toxic.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ Lake Forsyth on the Banks Peninsula is green with toxic slime
Locals say that after several years of improvement, the water in Lake Forsyth on the Banks Peninsula has deteriorated after a run of dry weather.
For the last few months, large parts of the lake have been green, with toxic green slime seeping onto its shores.
Signs warn that the water is dangerous for humans and animals.
Several weeks ago, a farmer lost around 30 sheep after they died drinking water from the lake.
“It’s in a very bad state this year, which is actually quite surprising. The quality of the lake has been improving for the last five years,” said Banks Peninsula zone committee chair Steve Lowndes.
“This year, it’s gone backwards.”
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ
The green slime washes up on the shore.
He had lost a cat and a dog because of the lake’s water over the years, he said.
While there was signage declaring the water unsafe, visiting campers may miss the warnings, he said.
“It’s toxic. It kills people’s pets, and if humans get into it, they can be made to feel very sick… as it is, it’s a health hazard.”
“With climate change and sea level rise and all sorts of things, you have to think the lake is in trouble.”
ECAN/SUPPLIED Cows in the Okana River, where banks have eroded into the water. The river forms the Takiritawai River and flows into the lake.
The state of Lake Forsyth shows the difficulty of revitalising some of Canterbury’s unhealthy lakes, which has been the focus of Environment Canterbury (ECan+) and other community groups in recent years.
Lowndes said the zone committee had tried to improve Lake Forsyth’s quality – it wanted to create a sediment trap and wetlands at the mouth of the lake – but acknowledged it may never recover.
The main culprit was the phosphorous-rich soil on the bed of the shallow, brackish lake. Erosion of nearby river banks had caused further soil to enter the water, creating an ideal environment for toxic algae.
Blooms occurred routinely, but the latest bloom was particularly severe.
A public health warning issued in January, which warned that blooms of blue-green algae posed a risk to both animals and humans, is still in place.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ Signs on the lake-front warn visitors and their pets not to go near the water.
ECan surface water science manager Tim Davie said the regional council had been working with the Wairewa runanga to improve the lake’s water quality.
It did so by maintaining high water levels, which allowed plants to grow, he said.
“[T]his year the very dry spring meant that the lake has remained low, aquatic plants did not grow well in the lake and we have a seen a severe cyanobacterial bloom,” he said.
The Wairewa sub-regional plan, which had hearings last week, would introduce new policies and rules to reduce sediment going into the lake, he said.
They included rules around fencing-off stock from rivers and streams to reduce bank erosion, and introducing minimum flows in nearby rivers.
Trophic level index scores, used to measure the health of lakes, show a trend of improved quality in the lake in the last five years.
Latest testing, however, shows it had dipped from previous years.
Iwi Ngai Tahu has customary title over the lake, meaning only members of the iwi can fish for tuna (eel), recognising the lake’s importance as a food source to local Maori.
Forsyth is one of two customary lakes in New Zealand, and the only one in the South Island.
The Wairewa rununga is actively involved in managing the lake. It was unable to comment on Tuesday.