“James Shaw has shown his arrogance and contempt for ordinary New Zealanders in an interview he didn’t think would make the mainstream,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“In an interview with Ngāti Hine FM, a small Māori radio station, Associate Environment Minister James Shaw let his guard down and gave us an insight into his contemptuous attitude towards everyday Kiwis.

“When talking about Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) Mr Shaw said “You’ve actually got a group of Pakeha farmers from down south who have always pushed back against the idea that they should observe any kind of regulation about what they can do to protect the environmental conditions on their land who are really whipping this up at the moment.”

“He went on to say, “And I know there was a big meeting up in Kawakawa... where people were getting wound up and a lot of it is because these guys were spreading misinformation.”

“The ‘big meeting’ attracted 500 people from all walks of life. To dismiss their concerns so casually shows an arrogance and lack of responsibility for his badly rolled out policy.

“Good leaders should be uniting New Zealanders behind good ideas, not dividing people by race and region.

“Shaw himself has admitted the SNA process has been bad. He is yo-yoing between saying he’s directed councils to pause SNAs, then saying SNAs should only be paused for iwi, then Grant Robertson saying the process has not been done well - it’s no wonder people are worried.  

“Has James Shaw even left Wellington since he last went to Paris? He lacks any knowledge of the hard work taking place in rural New Zealand.

“Farmers are the ones who kept the economy going during COVID-19, now they’re having their land confiscated and being taxed on farm vehicles. James Shaw should be thanking farmers rather than continually trying to punish them.

“James Shaw should apologise to farmers who are the best conservationists of their own land. If you take away property rights, there’s no incentive to be a conservationist. Who would be a conservationist on their own land if the reward is getting your land confiscated? Countries without property rights are environmental disasters.”

Sign our petition to stop the Significant Natural Areas land grab.

A video of James Shaw’s comments can be found here.