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Thumbs up For RMA Review Team

Thumbs up For RMA Review Team

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) welcomes the inclusion of a farming representative on a five-member reference group that will provide independent advice on a much-needed review of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Associate Environment Minister David Benson-Pope announced the review team on Wednesday. It includes Graham Pinnell, a respected sheep and beef farmer from the Waikato.

Earlier government statements indicated that the RMA review would focus on smoothing the tortuous RMA route only for large "national infrastructure" projects, rather than farming and other small to medium-sized businesses.

"It's important that the review comes to grips with the fundamental flaws of the RMA that impact on all business, big and small alike," said John Aspinall, the federation's spokesman on the RMA.

"The RMA is failing all business but especially small business. RMA costs can represent a significant proportion of the total cost of small business projects, and can stop projects that benefit productivity and the environment.

"Flaws in the act need to be remedied to bring a balance between national, community and private interests, and bring more accountability into the process," he said.

After six years of review and submissions, successive governments have refused to look at the problem of requiring land owners to meet the costs of protecting landscape, and conserving areas of native vegetation and heritage sites for the public benefit without financial support or compensation.

Nevertheless Federated Farmers looks to participate fully in this review and will seek to deliver a better balance between private and national interest.

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