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

 


Proposed RMA changes 'deeply troubling', EDS says

Proposed RMA changes 'deeply troubling', Environmental Defence Society says

By Pattrick Smellie

Feb. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Many of the government's proposed changes to the Resource Management Act are "deeply troubling" because of the "radical shift of power to Ministers" and the introduction of new economic development objectives to compete with environmental outcomes, says the Environmental Defence Society.

The country's leading lobby group on environmental law and regulation, the EDS says many of the proposals in a discussion paper released this morning by Environment Minister Amy Adams "go too far."

"The changes could encourage unsustainable and environmentally damaging urban sprawl," said EDS executive director Gary Taylor in a statement. "Developers will be thinking all their Christmases have come at once."

Among issues highlighted in a hastily prepared seven page analysis of the proposals is the intention to create a new government agency which could step in over the heads of local governments to speed up developments regarded as being nationally significant.

Adams focused particularly on the need to release new land for housing in Auckland, but EDS fears this is "another example of the government removing responsibility from elected representative local authorities and placing it in the hands of the executive or their nominees."

Proposed changes to Sections 6 and 7 of the RMA, governing the approach to nationally important matters, could also weaken the Act's current bias in favour of maintaining environmental bottom-lines and instead allow a bias in favour of economic development.

The government discussion paper says the changes are necessary because in practice, the RMA may have resulted in "an under-weighting of the positive effects (or net benefits) of certain economic and social activities."

However, EDS says that merging the two sections and adding new requirements for local government to take into account communities' future needs "will place greater emphasis on economic effects to the detriment of the environment."

EDS did, however, welcome some aspects of the proposed reforms, particularly the government's rejection of recommendations from a Technical Advisory Group that would have weakened protections for coasts, landscapes, and native flora and fauna.

"However, the inclusion of competing economic development matters may dilute that protection."

While the plan to reduce the number of planning documents in operation could work, EDS is concerned this could see a loss of regional planning at the expense of plans focused at the district level.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Payout As Global Supply Shrinks

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the dairy processor which will announce annual earnings tomorrow, hiked its forecast payout to farmers by 50 cents per kilogram of milk solids as global supply continues to decline, helping prop up dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Results:

Meat Trade: Silver Fern Farms Gets Green Light For Shanghai Maling Deal

The government has given the green light for China's Shanghai Maling Aquarius to acquire half of Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's biggest meat company, with ministers satisfied it will deliver "substantial and identifiable benefit". More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news