The post-election outlook on conservation lands

In preference to weeping, I try to count conservation blessings, and plan my new career as a lobbyist

Although a National government has been returned, in a way Kiwis did “vote for Nature” as Forest & Bird's election campaign asked. The prospects for Nature in the next three years are bleak, but all is not lost. A battle or two might be won by lobbying.

It is an interesting Parliament and there are some reasons to hope that Forest & Bird’s hand is, in fact, a little stronger than it was in the 49th Parliament.

The new National-led government has 64 confidence votes, with support from the ACT party, the United Future party, and the Maori party. It has 59 seats of its own. John Banks and Peter Dunne make 61.

Mr Dunne will be the Associate Conservation Minister, outside of Cabinet. Hon Kate Wilkinson continues with the Conservation portfolio, ranked at number 17 from 20 Ministers.

In a 121-seat Parliament, Mr Key needs 61 votes to govern, and pass Bills.

Analogies have been drawn between Mr Key and Mr Muldoon, including by the Prime Minister himself.

He will not want to risk a Marilyn Waring crossing the floor, or a Christine Fletcher exercising leverage on environmental issues in a narrowly divided House. …


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