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RMA Message Missing From PM's Speech

14 February 2006

RMA Message Missing From PM's Speech

The Prime Minister has some realistic and practical ideas for improving the wealth of New Zealanders, but she has missed one of the most obvious: fixing up the flawed Resource Management Act.

Trade, innovation, and economic growth are worthy goals, but won't be achieved without reforming the Resource Management Act, Mr Pedersen said.

His comments follow the Prime Minister delivering a 4,000 word speech which did not once mention the Resource Management Act and its myriad of problems.

Improving the RMA should be a big priority for a Labour-led government in the current Parliamentary term.

"The RMA is choking innovation and stifling economic growth. It has an enormous social cost to rural communities. Given the importance of primary production to the New Zealand economy, it is vital that the RMA and the way it is implemented are adjusted. The RMA is undermining farmers' confidence to invest in their own businesses," Mr Pedersen said.

"Central, regional and local government should be seeking to celebrate the incredible amount of investment that private landowners make in caring for and enhancing the environment. Every day farmers make environmental decisions that benefit all New Zealanders and they are rewarded with rules that penalise them for their hard work," Mr Pedersen said.

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 - as is done in the rest of the world. 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 and allow normal farming practices to continue without the need for resource consents. Plans should be 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 fail to recognise the value of local knowledge.

"Federated Farmers will continue to campaign for improvements to the RMA and the way it is implemented," Mr Pedersen said.

ENDS

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