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Bill Highlights RMA's Flaws

27 July 2006
Bill Highlights RMA’s Flaws

The need for an ad hoc new law highlights flaws in the Resource Management Act, said Bruce McNab, Federated Farmers’ spokesman on the RMA.

Mr McNab made the comments while appearing today before a select committee considering the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Bill.

Councils promoting the Bill say the RMA is inadequate to manage the cumulative effects of urban growth in Waitakere Ranges. If this is the case, then the problem is with the RMA, and it is a problem other councils must be experiencing as well.

“Rather than passing new laws to patch up deficiencies in the RMA, surely it makes more sense to fix the RMA,” Mr McNab said.

“If the councils that represent a third of the country’s population – as well as the country’s farmers – are saying there’s something wrong with the RMA, then it’s time to fix the RMA. It’s not time to pass special legislation patching over the cracks in the RMA for the benefit of just one part of the country.”

Fixing the RMA and improving RMA processes are strategic priorities for Federated Farmers.

“Aside from exposing flaws in the RMA, the Bill could act as a dangerous precedent for other councils. It would allow private property rights to be arbitrarily taken without compensation. Farmers in the area will have their rights to undertake reasonable activities on their land fettered by the state,” said Bruce McNab.

“Property rights should not be diminished without proper compensation being paid.

“Having secure property rights is one of the major principles on which the country’s economy is based, and is far too important to growth and investment in the country for legislation such as the proposed Waitakere Bill to be allowed to succeed”

“If the general public wants to protect landscape resources that are on private land, then the general public must compensate the land owners for the restrictions on their rights that those protection measures would impose,” Mr McNab said.


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