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Jennings Seeks Widespread Support for Bill

Jennings Seeks Widespread Support for Bill

Friday 20th Oct 2000 Owen Jennings Media Release -- Governance & Constitution

ACT MP Owen Jennings will be mounting an extensive campaign from next week to seek cross-party support for the introduction of his Private Members Bill seeking changes to the Resource Management Act.

Mr Jennings expects his Resource Management (Consultation with Landowners) Amendment Bill to go to the House early next month.

Mr Jennings said the Bill required local authorities to consult with all affected landowners before creating protection areas on private land in a proposed plan, something which does not happen at present.

“This Bill will, in effect, have the rights of property owners, recognised in law,” Mr Jennings said.

“The Bill also clarifies the process of consultation with Iwi, limiting Iwi to the status of all citizens taking part in the consultation process at the consent stage. The Bill will continue to recognise the status of Iwi at the planning stage.”

He said there had been several instances around New Zealand of local authorities abusing their powers under the Resource Management Act and the consultation process had become an administrative nightmare.

“There have been cases where councils have included in proposed plans, areas of private land for significant natural areas or related protection areas, without even the courtesy of consulting the landowners concerned,” Mr Jennings said.

He said two classic examples of how local authorities abused their power through the RMA, were in the Far North and Hurunui in North Canterbury.

“The councils in these areas literally went out and drew lines on a map, and property owners only heard through the grapevine that their land was suddenly smack in the middle of a new reserve.

He also pointed to the incidents in the Waikato and the Manawatu, where two pig farmers were “arbitrarily stripped of their livelihoods” through misuse of the resource Management Act.

“Without any legislative authority, some councils are requiring landowners to consider local Iwi interests as a special case. That is another blatant abuse of power,” Mr Jennings said.

“So much of the consent planning process under the current RMA is confusing, a waste of time and resources, and lacks clarity. My Bill addresses that but more importantly, upholds the rights of landowners,” Mr Jennings said.

“The current Act is such an administrative botch-up that few people can get to grips with it.

"For that reason I am looking forward to meeting with as many cross-party MPs as possible to point out the pitfalls of the RMA and how my Bill can address them.”

Mr Jennings said all landowners should be interested in his Bill.

“Farmers are anxious to have the RMA reviewed. All citizens are potential consent seekers and therefore affected by the Iwi consultation process.

“Apart from my own lobbying efforts I am urging as many people as possible to write or call their individual MPs and urge them to support the Resource Management (consultation with Landowners) Amendment Bill.

“When the RMA was originally being debated, many people failed to understand or act in time to counter some of the nightmare aspects of the Act before it became law.

“We must ensure that will not happen this time around, and that the rights of property owners will finally be recognised and up-held under the law,” Mr Jennings said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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