Goodbye Nick Smith | The Jackal

29 Jul 2014

Goodbye Nick Smith

On the back of recently trying to silence DOC over their concerns about the impact of the Ruataniwha irrigation project on water quality in central Hawke's Bay, Nick Smith is once again bullying a statuary body with threats that clearly show he’s not fit to be a Minister of the Crown.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Minister should resign, says Fish and Game

The Fish and Game Council wants Conservation Minister Nick Smith to resign, accusing him of threatening its future if it continues to question irrigation projects and intensive farming.

The council is an independent body with statutory authority to protect rivers, lakes and streams and the sole agency for issuing hunting and fishing licences.

Of course the beleaguered Conservation Minister has denied any wrongdoing, just like he initially denied pressuring ACC to give a friend of his special treatment, something the Minister had to later resign over.

He also denied any wrongdoing in the Cave Creek disaster, a disaster that caused the deaths of 14 people and was directly linked to a National government's policies on and mismanagement of the conservation estate. National cut DOC's funding to such an extent they couldn't function properly and in this respect it appears Nick Smith will never learn.

Nick Smith has rejected accusations that he told Fish and Game members at a tense meeting on 18 July in Wellington to essentially pull back on campaigning or risk the council being stripped of its statutory powers.

But notes obtained by Radio New Zealand News from the meeting where Dr Smith is accused of making the comments quote him saying its "perks of being a statutory body could go" if it continues to behave like a "rabid NGO."

The problem for Nick Smith is that nobody is buying into his side of the story, mainly because the evidence confirming that he threatened Fish and Game is categoric!

Five people who attended the 18 July meeting have told Radio New Zealand News that Dr Smith gave councillors a dressing down for their stance on trying to protect water quality in lakes and rivers.

Being that Fish and Game are mainly comprised of people who usually support right wing governments, this could be a real problem for National.

Smith might have a few farmers on his side concerning National's policy to allow polluted waterways to get worse, but the vast majority of New Zealander's want to be able to enjoy the great outdoors including swimming and fishing in our rivers.

Nick Smith seems determined to shut down any dissent to National's pro-pollution agenda, even threatening to restructure and cut funding to ensure organisations are kept quiet. The Ministers behavior is simply unacceptable; because it certainly isn't democratic to threaten a statutory body in such an aggressive and underhanded manner. Therefore Nick Smith should do the right thing and resign, preferably without all the crying this time.