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79% want sea protest law change reviewed or stopped

16 Apr 13

Credit: Element Magazine
79% want sea protest law change reviewed or stopped
Surveys finds New Zealanders uncomfortable with sea protest law change

Overall 79% of New Zealanders, regardless of their political alignment, believe a bill restricting rights to protest at sea should now go back to a Parliamentary Select Committee for more thorough scrutiny and public submissions or be dropped.

 

The Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Amendment Bill is due to go through its third and final reading at Parliament today (April 16).

 

The Horizon Research survey of 1,308 New Zealanders aged 18+, between 12:26 pm on 13 April 2013 and 10:30am on 15 April 2013, finds:

 

  • Overall, 51.4% oppose a proposed new law which would make some currently lawful protest activities against petroleum and minerals activities at sea unlawful

 

  • Support for the law change is 30.5% while the remainder are neutral or undecided.

 

The changes were introduced to the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Amendment Bill 2012 in Supplementary Order Paper No 205 (SOP No 205). The proposals contained in SOP No. 205 were first outlined in a media release on 31 March 2013 and the Supplementary Order Paper itself was released on 2 April 2013 by Hon Simon Bridges – Minister of Energy and Resources.

 

Meeting as a Committee of the Whole on April 11, the changes won support by 61 votes to 59 in the Parliament.  The bill is now set down for its final reading on Parliament’s next sitting day, Tuesday April 16, 2013.

The Horizon survey finds

 

  • 49% of respondents were not aware and 51% were aware of the proposed law changes before doing the survey

 

  • Overall, 60% think the law change process has been undertaken too quickly, and

 

  • 52.3% believe the bill should be sent back to the Select Committee.  A majority of those who support parties who voted for the change think that the bill should be sent back to the Select Committee

 

  • Overall, 79% support either sending the bill back to the Select Committee or withdrawing it entirely.

 

The Naional, Act and United Future parties voted for the SOP in the House on April 12, Labour, Green, Maori and Mana parties against.

 

Q7. Thinking about the proposed law change, which of the following actions would you support?

TOTAL

Supporters of:

Parties who voted for the SOP

Parties who voted against the SOP

 

 

 

 

The bill should become law immediately

20.1%

37.1%

6.0%

The bill should be sent back to select committee for more thorough scrutiny and public submissions

52.3%

51.6%

52.2%

The bill should be withdrawn and not passed into law

29.7%

13.5%

42.2%

Something else should happen

7.3%

2.0%

7.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support and opposition to the changes proposed to the bill are strongly aligned to support for political parties.  Support comes primarily from those who support the parties that voted for the changes; opposition largely from those who support the parties who voted against the changes.

 

Overall, however, a majority of respondents, regardless of their political alignment, believe the bill should now go back to the Select Committee for more thorough scrutiny and public submissions. 

 

There is general acknowledgement that many important environmental protection initiatives arose from protests at sea, including the moratorium on commercial whaling, the bans on dumping nuclear waste at sea and on using of driftnets, New Zealand's nuclear free status and the end of French atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific.  While that acknowledgement is stronger among the opposition, a majority of supporters of the change feel that way as well.

 

Opinion on the harshness or otherwise of the change and associated penalties is again politically aligned.

 

There is also an indication that more discussion and better information about the change may lead to people being less neutral about it.  While support remained a minority overall, respondents were a little more supportive at the end of the survey that at the beginning.  Similarly, more opposed the change at the end of the survey than at the beginning.

A Horizon Research report on the survey can be downloaded here.

 

The sample is weighted on age, gender, ethnicity, highest qualification, employment status and, to ensure that it is balanced for political support, by party vote in the 2011 election.  It has a maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level of +/- 2.8% overall.

 

Information on Horizon's research methods and how they meet international standards is available at this page.

 

For further information regarding this survey or other Horizon services please contact

Gratnt McInman, Manager, Horizon Research, e-mail gmcinman@horizonresearch.co.nz, telephone 021 076 2040.

 

FOOTNOTE: At 4.30pm on April 16 the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament by 61 votes to 59 and will now go to the Governor General for assent and become law.