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Outdoor group urges more honesty in Government

Outdoor group urges more honesty in Government
September 20, 2013

The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of New Zealand (CORANZ) has called for more honesty and respect for democracy and the public interest by the New Zealand Government and in Parliament.

In a report to its annual meeting this week, CORANZ, an umbrella group for national and regional outdoor organisations, said 'exploiters' and developers were getting fast track and "red carpet" treatment by government at the expense of the public's environment and outdoor recreation.

The annual report, co-authored by co-Chairmen Bill Benfield of Wairarapa and Tony Orman of Marlborough along with Secretary Hugh Barr of Wellington, expressed concern that there was a scramble to use use public resources for private profit.

The report cited the New Zealand Government's proposal to alter the Resource Management Act at the expense of environmental values, its banning of protest rights to deep sea drilling and Prime Minister John Key's disdain to a public referendum opposing asset sales.

While CORANZ firmly describes itself as 'apolitical', not aligning itself to any political party, the organisation does feel that it can criticise Government policies as appropriate. The report described the current National-Act-Maori- Peter Dunne coalition as more entrenched with arrogance than the Labour 'Rogernomics' government of the 1980s and the National 'Ruthenasia' National government of the 1990s.

The report stated "the National coalition has shown little interest in the public's outdoor recreation. Indeed it has threatened to erode the public estate with mining in National Parks while the Department of Conservation has swung to commercialisation.

"If we sound highly critical of the current government, it's because in a parliamentary democracy government has been charged with the duty and mandate to protect the public interest. If it fails then it must be criticised. Sadly government has shown itself to favour wealthy foreigners and exploiters and sneers at ordinary New Zealanders and the nations traditions. Weak and/or corrupt governments produces that fatal combination of wealth and opulence alongside poverty and despair."

CORANZ produces an outdoor recreation charter each election and invites comments from political parties and MPs. It will produce a charter for next year's New Zealand election.

Officers elected were Co-chairmen Bill Benfield and Andy Cockcroft and Secretary Hugh Barr.

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