I was absolutely gobsmacked by a statement by Steven Joyce, the Minister of Economic Development, in an official New Zealand Government press release yesterday. Joyce explicitly took the side of and promoted the cause of Aussie coal miners, Bathurst Resources, in two up-coming court cases.
“The Escarpment Mine is an open cast mining project that is ready to go and would provide 225 jobs and incomes for workers and their families on the West Coast straight away. The developer is being held up from opening the Escarpment Mine by on-going litigation that has gone through the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal. These on-going objections are to resource consents which were granted more than a year ago. The whole consenting process for this development has now taken a staggering seven years. I call on those objectors to the mine to reconsider their appeals and consider the economic future of the West Coast and its people.”
I know Joyce is very pro-development. He has his own archive of posts on Hot Topic, where his preference for fossil fuel developments is obvious. But this time he has crossed a line. Joyce is using his position as a Minister of the Crown to explicitly influence decisions yet to be made by the Environment Court and the Court of Appeal on the resource consents sought by Bathurst.
Joyce is breaching the Sub judice rule.