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RMA The Key Focus

17 November 2005 PR 143/05

RMA The Key Focus

Improving the Resource Management Act is a big priority for Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) over the next three years, said Bruce McNab, the Federation's RMA spokesman.

That was the decision of the Federation's top decision-making body, the National Council, at its recent biannual meeting.

"The Federation wants to deliver quantifiable benefits to members through changing the legislation and the way it is implemented by councils. This is an ambitious strategic goal and will take time but the council believes it is achievable," he said.

"Given the importance of primary production to the New Zealand economy, it is vital that the RMA and the way it is implemented is adjusted to allow for truly sustainable farming," Mr McNab said.

To date the Federation has identified a number of concerns with the RMA:

- The RMA must be amended so that landowners can seek compensation for costs imposed on them to protect significant natural areas, heritage sites, and landscapes in the wider public interest. The Public Works Act recognises the need for compensation, so should the RMA;
- The Department of Conservation should not have advocacy rights over private land;
- District plan objectives, policies, methods and rules must be practical, based on sound science and subject to robust cost-benefit analysis;
- The Federation opposes national policy standards that impose a 'one size fits all' approach and fails to recognise the value of local knowledge.

"The RMA planning and consent process is a time and money 'black hole' for farmers. For example, the cost of getting a resource consent to build a dam for stock watering can exceed the cost of actually building the dam. There are also often hidden costs associated with land use restrictions on such things as developing farm tracks, laying culverts and building hay barns," said Mr McNab.

Chief executive Annabel Young and her senior management team this week began working on a detailed business plan to implement the RMA strategic goal and other goals of the Federation over the next three years.


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