Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Forestry seeks major changes in RMA review

Forestry seeks major changes in RMA review

The forest and wood processing industries are calling for a major shake-up of the Act which regulates the effects of industry on the environment.

"We speak for a sector which is utterly committed to sustainable resource use, so we are not looking for environmental standards to be relaxed," says NZ Forest Owners Association chief executive Rob McLagan.

"But what we do need is a law which allows industries to invest in New Zealand at reasonable cost and with a degree of certainty. This is not happening under the Resource Management Act (RMA) which is failing to meet its objectives."

The association and the NZ Forest Industries Council (NZFIC) have made a joint submission to David Benson-Pope, the minister responsible for a government review of the Act.

They are calling for a centralised system of environmental regulation to replace at least some of the provisions of the RMA.

"We have regional and district councils making decisions about issues which they are often ill-equipped to deal with," says NZFIC chief executive Stephen Jacobi.

"Decisions with national implications are made by local politicians. This results in multiple hearings, inconsistency, needless expense and delays.

"A single pool of expertise sufficient to assess risk and set standards will result in higher quality standards."

The forest and wood processing industries have worked with local government on two major initiatives to improve the efficiency with which RMA has been applied to forest growing and wood processing.

The first was a code of best practice for the regulation of forest harvesting. It set standards which could be written into council plans, to create a straight forward process for foresters seeking resource consents to harvest.

The second, developed as part of the government's Wood Processing Strategy, was a draft code of practice for wood processing industries.

"In neither case has local government moved to use these draft standards to reduce the vast discretion which is at the centre of concerns about delay, complexity, duplication, rent seeking behaviour, and total cost," says Jacobi.

"Little of the $3 billion in new investment we sought through the Wood Processing Strategy, and necessary to process the increased wood harvest in New Zealand, has been attracted to these shores. Most of the increase is leaving in unprocessed form.

"All New Zealanders should be concerned about this and recognise the role of the RMA and its administration by local government in this outcome."

McLagan says the time has come for major reform of both the Act and the means by which it is administered.

"The government's proposed fine-tuning of the Act will simply not result in the changes needed to drive the economy forward, while protecting the environment. This is the last chance for the government to show that this is a genuine attempt to review the Act for the benefit of all New Zealanders."

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>


Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>


CO2 And Water: Fonterra's Environment Plans

Federated Farmers support Fonterra’s bold push to get to zero emissions of CO2 on the manufacturing side of the Co-operative, both in New Zealand and across its global network. More>>


Fisheries: Decision To Delay Monitoring ‘Fatally Flawed’

Conservation group representatives say a decision by the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to delay implementation of camera monitoring of fishing efforts in New Zealand is ‘fatally flawed’. More>>


Kaikōura Quakes: One Year On

State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected... More>>


  • Bill Bennett on Tech