Following on from Part 1 and Part 2 of National’s crimes over the past 9 years, here is the final installment just in time for the last couple of days voting in the 2017 election.

Opening conservation land for mining

This year National developed plans for multiple coal mining sites on high value conservation land on the West Coast of the South Island. Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague clearly states the importance of this land. “This is public conservation land, and the most ecologically valuable area on the plateau – without Whareatea West the integrity of the whole plateau is lost.”

A Department of Conservation report found that “it is evident the proposal has the potential to have significant adverse effects on the conservation values of the land, including some values that are nationally significant.”

This comes not only at a time when we need to protect our conservation land from exploitation by destructive mining corporations, but also the native species which rely on it for survival such as the great spotted kiwi, the South Island fernbird and the West Coast green gecko.

National voting against free school lunches

Highlighting a clear lack of empathy towards New Zealand’s already impoverished children, National in 2015 rejected Meteria Turei’s ‘Feed the Kids Bill’ which was originally introduced by Hone Harawira.

The bill, which was estimated to only cost $10-14m, would have provided state-funded breakfasts and lunches for all decile one and two schools so hungry children would be able to focus and learn more in the classroom. Key rejected the bill based on his opinion that that number of children that come to school without breakfast and lunch is “relatively low”.

$13.7m taxpayer funds pledged to Hilary Clinton trust

The most read article on our website has been our investigation into National’s shady million dollar taxpayer funded donations to Hilary Clinton’s trust, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

An MFAT spokesman confirmed to the NBR that between January 2010 and June 2016, $7.7 million of taxpayer funds had already been donated and another $6 million was to follow, keeping to a pledge to donate $13.7 million made by the government organisation in 2013.

The big question is, why is our government sending millions of dollars overseas while at the same time cutting funding for crucial services which desperately need the money here in New Zealand?

$26 million taxpayer dollars wasted on flag change debacle

Rather than being remembered for record child poverty, homelessness and teen suicide rates, it appears John Key instead wanted to be remembered by a change in the New Zealand flag. The two referendums cost New Zealand $26 million, and with 57% of voters deciding to keep the flag, it turned into a very expensive John Key ego project funding by taxpayers, of course.

Unlawful harassment of Nicky Hager

Reeling from the public revelations made by Hager in his book ‘Dirty Politics’ and in search of hacker ‘RawShark’, the clearly politically influenced New Zealand Police conducted what was found by the High Court to be an illegal search on Nicky’s home and property. The actions taken by the National Party and the New Zealand Police highlight a concerning trend of politically motivated attacks on journalism in New Zealand This result proving the Police acted illegally was a big win for journalistic privileged as highlighted by Nicky.

“The heart of the case is the public’s right to receive information about the actions of people in positions of authority. This decision acknowledges that confidential sources used in investigative journalism, in this case my book Dirty Politics, deserve legal protection.”

Refusal to hold an independent inquiry into state abuse

Revelations of more than 1,000 people claiming they were either sexually or physically abused under state care between 1950 and 1990 was not enough for National MP Anne Tolley to universally apologise. She also completely ruled out an independent inquiry into the state abuse knowing how bad the findings would be for a government seeking re-election.

Claiming an independent inquiry would “retraumatise victims” was a slap in the face for all those who did suffer abuse and are directly requesting an independent inquiry.

Simon Bridges blocking KiwiRail proposal OIA

Minster for Transport Simon Bridges attempted to block an Official Information Act (OIA) request on the figures for KiwiRail’s proposed third train line in Auckland. Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier received numerous complaints about the pressure Bridges put on officials not to release the business case to the public, yet somehow believes there was no improper influence, ignoring the evidence.

This is a clear example of a corrupt politician openly attempting to flout the OIA because of the political implications.

National not acting on climate change

Although we are a small nation, New Zealand’s emissions per capita are the 7th highest out of 41 industrialised countries. In November of 2015, New Zealand joined 196 other countries in signing the Paris Agreement which has since been ratified by 160 of the world’s major emitters. However, our Nationally Intended Contribution (NDC) falls short at only a 30% reduction on 2005 levels by 2030. This equates to only an 11% reduction on 1990 levels which the Climate Action Tracker has deemed ‘insufficient’ and our longer term target ‘highly insufficient’. The Emissions Trading Scheme remains the dominant tool but omits entirely the agricultural sector which contributes 49% of New Zealand’s emissions and is deeply flawed.

Climate change is the biggest issue currently facing New Zealand, and while Ardern has declared it “her generation’s nuclear-free moment”, National have opted for a business-as-usual approach, keeping our biggest emitter out of the ETS which will see our country completely miss the targets agreed to in Paris.

Please note, these critiques are only a small selection of National’s damaging impacts to New Zealand over the past nine years. Only when enough of us realise the damage National has caused to our society and environment will we have the numbers to keep them out of power.

If, like us, you are appalled at the state our society and environment is now in, please make a conscientious decision about who you vote for this election.

While we can’t change the crimes which have occured in the past, now is your chance to have your say about the future of this country.

About The Author

Kyle is a Christchurch based freelance writer with a passion for investigative journalism and thirst for the truth. He's also an avid environmentalist and tiny house dweller.

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