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Government Claims Disguise True RMA Costs

3 August 2005 PR 113/05

Government Claims Disguise True RMA Costs

The government is being misleading in claiming that environment-related compliance costs have fallen, said Don Nicolson, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

"Farmers are disappointed that a government minister, who should be relied on to make accurate statements, is misusing the results of the annual Business New Zealand-KPMG Compliance Costs Survey," Mr Nicolson said.

The survey said that average total environment-related compliance costs had fallen between 2003 and 2004.

"That may be the case among some businesses, but it is certainly not true for the agriculture sector," Mr Nicolson said.

"The government is quoting a report which does not take farming into account. The report by Business New Zealand was based on a survey of its members, not of farmers."

Mr Nicolson said the Associate Environment Minister is wrong to quote a survey which excludes farmers to trumpet lower compliance costs associated with the RMA.

The minister referred to the survey in a press release about Parliament today debating changes to the Resource Management Act.

"The changes will make the already flawed law worse for rural New Zealand," said Mr Nicolson.

"RMA compliance costs are a huge issue for farmers. Not only can the cost of getting a resource consent for, say, a dam for stock watering exceed the cost of actually building the dam, but there are also hidden costs associated with land use restrictions on such things as bush clearance and wetland drainage.

"Compliance costs are getting to the point where they could threaten the viability of agriculture.

"The government should make a proper analysis of the real costs of the RMA to primary industry, rather than make sweeping claims that don't stand up to scrutiny," he said.


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