Opinion: Future at risk in lobbyists’ hands

March marked the dawn of a new era for us in the Green Party.

Chloe Swarbrick was resoundingly elected to serve alongside Marama Davidson at the helm of our party.

Departing co-leader James Shaw, meanwhile, has dedicated us a substantial legacy of climate action that we will all continue to build on.

This foundation, along with the dynamism of our new co-leadership, will be essential in fighting the most anti-environment and anti-democratic government we have seen in our history.

As Gary Taylor, chief executive of the Environmental Defence Society said in relation to the government’s recently announced fast track consenting legislation, ‘‘the government’s war on nature [is] going nuclear’’.

Ministers are effectively handing themselves unbridled power to trash our environment, bypassing the checks and balances any healthy democracy expects of its leaders.

Projects previously rejected by the Environment Court, initiatives that include mining on our conservation estate and the destruction of our seabed could all be approved under the coalition’s plan.

This legislation alongside the bonfire of climate policy we have witnessed this term characterises this government’s back-to-the-future approach on all things environment.

We need a government that prioritises the wellbeing of its people over profits, we need a government that listens to science ahead of lobbyists, we need climate action.

I have listened to people across a wide variety of communities and sectors that are concerned by the direction this government is heading in. I am hearing outrage, distress and anger. These emotions are completely understandable, but we cannot give up hope and the work must continue.

Right now, I am working on a member’s Bill to deliver an electricity market that works for people rather than profit, and seeking support for the South Dunedin Future Programme.

I’m a sponsor for the Tūhura Otago Museum’s Science Showcase, which is coming to parliament in May.

Public submissions are now open on the fast-track legislation until April 16. There will be more from us as a party on how to make a submission on this.

We cannot afford to leave the future of our natural world to the mercy of party donors and powerful industry lobbyists.

The message we’ve put out to the fossil fuel sector is that a Green government will mean a loss of consent to trash our environment and aggravate our climate.