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    • Sore Losers: Nick Smith and the Government Water Down the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund
      • 7 Jul 2017
      • Save the Basin Reserve!
      • The rules of the Ministry for the Environment’s Environmental Legal Assistance Fund, which groups including Save the Basin have used to help fund legal challenges to infrastructure projects, have now been changed so that such applications can be arbitrarily declined, by: The inclusion of a new criterion to consider whether providing ELA funding to the applicant for its involvement in the legal proceedings, will contribute to impeding or delaying the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being in relation to important needs, including employment, housing and infrastructure.   I was rung by a Stuff journalist about this and responded on behalf of Save the Basin: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/94323541/quiet-change-to-public-fund-for-environmental-legal-challenges A subsequent exchange in Question Time (see below) makes it very clear that Nick Smith had the Government’s Basin Reserve flyover defeat in mind when he made this move. Nick Smith and the Government appear to think that fits of pique make good public policy. We beg to differ. Question Time 9. EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: By how much has annual funding for the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund been cut since 2013/14? Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): The budget this year is $600,000 per year, as it was last year and the year before. For the 4 years prior to that the budget was $800,000 per year but was repeatedly underspent. The spend in 2013-14 was $555,000, and the average actual spend was $520,000. As much as I like the Minister of Finance, I do not like under-spending my vote so I reduced the budget in 2015-16 and transferred it to increased support for collaborative processes. This is also consistent with our blue-green philosophy of supporting people to find solutions rather than spending it on legal aid to fight disputes. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that he created a new criterion for the fund recently so that community groups wanting to challenge council decisions in the courts are likely to be denied funding if their case might “impede or delay” a development project? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes, I have changed the criteria. A new consideration is the issue of housing and infrastructure. The Government makes no apologies for making it harder for groups to get Government money to stop houses and infrastructure from being built. It does not prevent funding being provided in those sorts of cases, but it requires the panel to give consideration to the broader public interest. It simply does not make sense for the Government to be using public money to stop transport projects being built and stop houses being built with legal aid funding. Eugenie Sage: Does he believe that Forest & Bird would have received funding to mount a legal challenge to Bathurst Resources’ proposed coalmine on the Denniston plateau if this new criterion had been in place? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: There is an independent panel that makes the decisions on the issue of the legal aid. What I have added to the criteria is that, alongside the environmental things, issues like infrastructure, jobs, and housing have to be a consideration. But it still will be an independent consideration for the panel. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that last year he gave himself the power to decide which cases and which community groups would get environmental legal aid, stripping this power away from the Ministry for the Environment’s chief executive? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Each year Ministers make a decision about the level of delegations. In this particular case, I decided not to delegate to the Ministry for the Environment, albeit I note that I followed the panel’s advice in every case. In the event that I do not follow the panel’s advice it will be a matter of open public record. Eugenie Sage: Why will he not just own the fact that his Government is trying to stop legal challenges that might impede environmentally destructive development, like the coalmine on the Denniston plateau, the Ruataniwha Dam, and the Basin Reserve flyover? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I know of many Wellingtonians who would be concerned that the Government was spending money on stopping roading through to the airport being constructed with legal aid funds. So the Government has deliberately put into the environmental legal aid criteria that the panel needs to consider issues like infrastructure and housing. To quote the Minister for Infrastructure: “We are the infrastructure Government.”, and we want to see New Zealanders being able to get around and have a roof over their heads.9. EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for the Environment: By how much has annual funding for the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund been cut since 2013/14? Hon Dr NICK SMITH (Minister for the Environment): The budget this year is $600,000 per year, as it was last year and the year before. For the 4 years prior to that the budget was $800,000 per year but was repeatedly underspent. The spend in 2013-14 was $555,000, and the average actual spend was $520,000. As much as I like the Minister of Finance, I do not like under-spending my vote so I reduced the budget in 2015-16 and transferred it to increased support for collaborative processes. This is also consistent with our blue-green philosophy of supporting people to find solutions rather than spending it on legal aid to fight disputes. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that he created a new criterion for the fund recently so that community groups wanting to challenge council decisions in the courts are likely to be denied funding if their case might “impede or delay” a development project? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Yes, I have changed the criteria. A new consideration is the issue of housing and infrastructure. The Government makes no apologies for making it harder for groups to get Government money to stop houses and infrastructure from being built. It does not prevent funding being provided in those sorts of cases, but it requires the panel to give consideration to the broader public interest. It simply does not make sense for the Government to be using public money to stop transport projects being built and stop houses being built with legal aid funding. Eugenie Sage: Does he believe that Forest & Bird would have received funding to mount a legal challenge to Bathurst Resources’ proposed coalmine on the Denniston plateau if this new criterion had been in place? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: There is an independent panel that makes the decisions on the issue of the legal aid. What I have added to the criteria is that, alongside the environmental things, issues like infrastructure, jobs, and housing have to be a consideration. But it still will be an independent consideration for the panel. Eugenie Sage: Can he confirm that last year he gave himself the power to decide which cases and which community groups would get environmental legal aid, stripping this power away from the Ministry for the Environment’s chief executive? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Each year Ministers make a decision about the level of delegations. In this particular case, I decided not to delegate to the Ministry for the Environment, albeit I note that I followed the panel’s advice in every case. In the event that I do not follow the panel’s advice it will be a matter of open public record. Eugenie Sage: Why will he not just own the fact that his Government is trying to stop legal challenges that might impede environmentally destructive development, like the coalmine on the Denniston plateau, the Ruataniwha Dam, and the Basin Reserve flyover? Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I know of many Wellingtonians who would be concerned that the Government was spending money on stopping roading through to the airport being constructed with legal aid funds. So the Government has deliberately put into the environmental legal aid criteria that the panel needs to consider issues like infrastructure and housing. To quote the Minister for Infrastructure: “We are the infrastructure Government.”, and we want to see New Zealanders being able to get around and have a roof over their heads.
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    • Winter Series Points table after Race 2 (31 July 2021)
      • 1 Aug 2021
      • Kapiti Cycling Club
      • Here are the points after Race 2: A GRADE Race 2 Points balance Points Round 2 Total Points Name Place       Steve Bale 4 20 12 32 Katie Richards 11 17  1 18 Christopher Paul Harris 3 14 14 28 Peter Mora 1 12 20 32 Campbell Jamiesen   10   10 Jack Polley 9 8 5 13 Matthew Cryer 16 7 1 8 Matt Frecklington 10 6 4 10 Luke McDermott 18 5 1 6 Josh Courtis 2 4 17 21 David Finley 6 1 8 9 Daniel Shepherd 5   10 10 Rob Kilvington 6   8 8 Matt Shatland 8   6 6 Paul Rawlinson 12   1 1 Tony Gestro 13   1 1 Mark Hussey 14   1 1 Thomas Berry 15   1 1 Matthew Webber 17   1 1 Elliot Robertson 19   1 1 Callum Kennedy 20   1 1 David Weaver 21   1 1 B GRADE  Race 2 Points balance Points Round 2 Total Points Name Place       Stephen O'Keefe 1  20 20 40 Paul Rawlinson    17   17 Mark Coburn 3  14 14 28 Oliver Ferry    12   12 Rhys Evans 9  10 5 15 Darren Murdie 11  8 1 9 Mike Dunne 4  7 12 19 Andrew Anson    6   6 Tim Mackey 20  5 1 6 Mike Craine    4   4 Alex Foden    1   1 Leon Goodwin 8  1 6 7 Johan Oelofse    1   1 Gary Clareburt 18  1 1 2 Richard Graham 6  1 8 9 Dwight garton 21  1 1 2 Rob Ryan 10  1   11 Carl Dickeson 15  1 1 2 Andrew Richardson    1   1 Euan Mason    1   1 Yoshi Shinoda 5  1 10 11 JOSHUA TURNBULL    1   1 Matthew Walker 16  1 1 2 Chris Sharot 2   17 17 Alex Foden 7   7 7 Kristine Ford 12   1 1 Tim Lloyd 13   1 1 Nathan Cook 14   1 1 James de Hair 17   1 1 Toshi Yamauchi 19   1 1 C GRADE  Race 2 Points balance Points Round 2 Total Points Name Place       Ian Riddle 1  20 20 40 Janice Hill 5  17 10 30 John Valentine    14   14 Ian Gordon 12  12 1 13 Ian Cooke 9  10 5 15 Dave Chandler 10  8 4 12 Bruce Edgar 7  7 7 14 Chris McBride 3  6 14 20 John Pratt 14  5 1 6 Greg Overton    4   4 Tony Levaggi    1   1 Oscar Goodwin 2  1 17 18 Adrian Mckenzie    1   1 Alex Glenn 15  1 1 2 Kenzey Compton    1   1 Hugh Swartbooi 17  1 1 2 Wayne John Fage 18  1 1 2 Jo Neeson 4   12 12 Mike Harding 6   8 8 Steve Nagy 8   6 6 Millie Donald 11   1 1 Phil Cocker 13   1 1 Ian Fraser 16   1 1 D GRADE  Race 2 Points balance Points Round 2 Total Points Name Place       Ian Fraser    20     Jo Neeson    17     Robert Scotcher 1  14 20 34 John Rowlinson 7  12 7 19 Serena Scotcher 3  10 14 24 Dave Downer 4  8 12 20 Reg Robinson    7     Darryn Cooke 2   17 17 Jamie Carey 5   10 10 Mark Neeson 6   8 8 Frances de Hair 8   6 6 Liz Gasson DNF   1 1 SOCIAL CIRCUIT  Race 2 Points balance Points Round 2 Total Points Name Place       Kassidy compton    20   20 Eve Rongo    17   17 Louise Kātene    14   14 Des Batten 1   20 20 Catherine Reid 2   17 17 Andrew Lowe 3   14 14 Euan Mason 4   12 12
      • Accepted from Kapiti Cycling Club results 2020 by feedreader
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