Peter Dunne has lashed out at the Greens, saying some of that party's MPs are extreme as Afghanistan's Taleban and that the political left has hijacked the making of environmental policy and shut mainstream New Zealanders out of the debate.

Speaking at his party's annual conference in Wellington today, the United Future leader said being pro-business and pro-jobs did not mean being anti-environment.

However, some elements of the environmental lobby were showing "arrogant intolerance" towards businesses in the mineral and energy sectors, labelling those firms and their staff as "pariahs" and "being worse than vandals".

Some activists considered it acceptable to abuse business leaders as being corrupt simply because they wanted to make a profit and give people jobs.


Mr Dunne said that by nature of their special bond with the land and waterways, all New Zealanders considered themselves to be environmentalists, but were feeling shut out of the debate.

"It is no great surprise that many people who do care have simply walked away and left it to the extremists because they do not want to be part of the other claptrap."

He said the Green Party had captured the market for environmental outrage. "In an open society, there is a place for a Green Taleban - but that is at the fringes, not centre-stage".

The political left pushed the notion that unless you were a "green", you could not possibly be truly concerned about caring for the environment.

However, while environmental activists mounted their "sanctimonious" campaigns, the environment was going backwards.

Mr Dunne said one Green MP , whose name he could not recall had labelled economics as "one of the dark arts" and some sort of voodoo science.

"This is the kind of garbage that these people get away with and are rewarded for their environmental hypocrisy."