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RMA Proposals Reek Of "Smoke-Stack Socialism"

Thursday 16 September 2004

RMA Proposals Reek Of "Smoke-Stack Socialism"

Plans to give central government more power to ram through major construction projects risk a return to 'smoke-stack socialism', Action Hobson said today.

"We haven't seen this sort of centralisation of the planning approval process since Muldoon's National Development Act," Christine Caughey, an Action Hobson candidate for the Auckland City Council, said today.

"The Resource Management Act was an attempt to decentralise decision-making to local communities," she said. "Regional councils and environmental authorities were never funded properly to make it work as well as it should, and some of the consultation processes are arguably too bureaucratic and open to some abuse. But that is hardly a reason to give Wellington power to decide what will happen in Auckland and elsewhere. It is difficult to see that this is anything more than an attempt by Wellington to ram through motorways that would not otherwise be approved because local communities in Auckland do not want them.

"The announced plans are a threat to local decision-making and local democracy that is frankly chilling."

Christine Caughey said one of the ironies of the plans was that the Government appeared to be responding to concerns by a narrow group of powerful commercial interests.

"Usually business argues that there should be decentralisation of decision-making," she said. "Here we seem to have some narrow interests arguing that they want Wellington to make decisions for Auckland."


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