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Problems start emerging for the Government

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key. Pic: NZPA
John Key. Pic: NZPA

Wellington, May 10 NZPA - Mining conservation land, the emissions trading scheme and the Foreshore and Seabed Act are emerging as problem areas for the Government mid-way through its first term.

Prime Minister John Key told delegates at a National Party regional conference in Masterton yesterday that the Government's plans for legislation to replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act would be "a challenge to you and other New Zealanders."

He warned there were extremists who would "falsely characterise things in a way that may even frighten you."

The Government's proposal is to take the foreshore and seabed out of Crown ownership and put it into a public domain, with Maori able to claim customary title but never sell the land or interfere with public access.

The emissions trading scheme was a talking point at the conference, and opposition is growing to starting it on July 1 despite Australia's decision to put its own scheme on hold until at least 2013.

The ACT Party is planning a nationwide campaign to stop the July 1 start date, and believes there is strong public support.

Mining on schedule four conservation land is also attracting strong opposition and Mr Key acknowledged that in his speech.

"There has been an emotional debate," Mr Key said.

"I can understand that. Proposals like this one are never easy -- but neither is the alternative.

"If we want a faster growing economy and better paid jobs for Kiwi families we have to do something to make it happen."

Mr Key used his speech to foreshadow some of what will be in next week's budget, saying science and innovation would be "at its heart" and a priority area for new spending.

"The challenge for us is to get more of our firms using science, research and technology to deliver more valuable products and services," he told the conference.

Mr Key promised the budget would deliver a set of government accounts that would make much better reading than those inherited from the previous Labour government, saying the debt figure would be further reduced.

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