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

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news