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Investment Loss Highlights RMA Problems Again

The shock announcement that Olivine NZ is relocating to Australia to build a $500m waste-to-energy plant is grim news for New Zealand, ACT Environment Spokesman Owen Jennings said.

“This is another ridiculous indictment on the RMA, a slap in the face for Jim Anderton’s job machine and a serious loss to the NZ environment.

“Olivine have spent $5-6 million over the past five years fighting Environment Waikato and the Waikato District Council over resource consents in an unsuccessful attempt to gain approval to convert municipal waste into electricity.

“It is absurd that the same councils are bending over backwards to build NZ’s largest dump just two kilometres down the road from the Meremere site where Olivine wanted to establish itself. It is absurd because the landfill, considered outdated technology in Europe, is on the banks of the Waikato River, already heavily polluted from 6-7 existing landfills.

“There is widespread international evidence that landfills ultimately leach highly toxic substances into surrounding waterways and produce unwanted methane and toxins into the atmosphere. High temp incineration destroys toxins and produces only inert ash, which can be safely disposed of or vitrified for additional use.

“It is frightening to think that those responsible for administering the Resource Management Act could oversee the blocking of Olivine’s proposal and the welcoming of Auckland’s rubbish, knowing the overall environmental outcome is disastrous. Marian Hobbs the Minister for the Environment, who is proving incapable of handling her portfolio has disappeared to the Antarctic and refuses to front up to this issue. Deputy Prime Minister Anderton cannot see the economic advantage of a $500m investment by Olivine and Sandra Lee, Local Government Minister, wants to give Local Authorities even more power to make similar contradictory decisions.

“Waste in NZ is a major problem requiring urgent action.

“ACT NZ believes that Government leadership is needed to bring about minimisation, sensible recycling and the establishment of private sector incineration as best methods economically and environmentally of dealing with the problem.

“We want an urgent overhaul of the RMA and local authorities’ powers to prevent further similar nonsense occurring,” Owen Jennings said.


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