National's Legislative Negligence | The Jackal

17 Oct 2011

National's Legislative Negligence

There's been a lot of side stepping by Steven Joyce recently, on whether National was informed about a lack of any proper legislation that would ensure the cost to clean up after an oil spill is paid for by those responsible.

Joyce says he was not aware of a limit the company is legally required to pay, and his lack of knowledge is apparently all Labours fault, because they did not inform him previously.

Surely as Minister of Transport, Steven Joyce should know exactly what is legislated for in terms of liability for cleanup costs from an oil spill?

Today, the New Zealand Herald reported:
Mr Joyce said Labour had given the legislation the lowest priority.

"I was unaware at that time as to the nature of the change in liability. Unfortunately it was never drawn to Cabinet's attention and never drawn to my attention."
Most people are aware that its not Labour who are pro oil, it's National. They've been promoting deep sea oil drilling while not acknowledging the substantial additional risks involved, and have failed to change legislation accordingly.

National did not change legislation prior to giving out numerous exploration permits, because they have little care for the environment. By not having robust legislation surrounding liability for oil spills, National is encouraging similar disasters to occur. If there are limited fines, companies will simply cut corners to maximize profits.

There's no question in my mind that Steven Joyce was aware of the legislative limitation of $12.1 million for legally imposable fines, and that New Zealander's would foot most of the bill for the Rena disaster.

The current maximum fine of up to $200,000 for a discharge of a harmful substance, under the Maritime Transport Act with a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued, and a limit of up to $600,000 for discharging contaminants, under the Resource Management Act, is something National has been informed about on numerous occasions. 

Steven Joyce should know this information without any other parties having to inform him of the issue. Joyce feigning ignorance as an excuse, shows that he's either a conceited bastard or in dereliction of duty.
The mainstream media is now under-reporting on the seriousness of the disaster because it might hurt tourism while National downplay the actual costs, just like they did with the Christchurch Earthquakes.

Now we have Steven Joyce trying to shift blame onto Labour for them not doing his job. Joyce is also saying that because Labour did not ask the same questions the Greens have been asking for a very long time, Steven Joyce was not aware of the limited liability issue. In my opinion, such conceited manipulation can only be categorized as evil!

The fact of the matter is that it's a waste of Parliaments time for political parties to ask the same question if it has already been presented in Questions for oral answers by another MP. Joyce's disingenuous argument to try and shift blame away from National's failures, is unacceptable politicking and must end if we are to work together to resolve the current crisis.

In the video below, you will see Metiria Turei questioning Hekia Parata earlier this year about the emergency response, safety, and environmental protection provisions that are in place for deep sea oil drilling.