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National Launching Campaign To Fix RMA

"National is commited to our people and their right to work and succeed, our environment and its availability to future generations, and our economy which through growth allows people to have a sense of prosperity and wellbeing," National Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

National took a step closer to that vision today when Mrs Shipley and Environment spokesperson Nick Smith launched a nationwide campaign based on 26 proposals to substantially improve the Resource Management Act. The initiative is part of the party's spring offensive of new ideas to improve the living standards of New Zealanders.

"The Resource Management Act is frustrating homeowners, farmers and businesses. It is ridiculous that it can take seven years to get consents for new roads, power stations and port facilities. We are committed to high standards but an improved pace in achieving RMA approvals. Reforming the RMA is a key part of National's growth strategy," Jenny Shipley said.

"National is angry that the Government has ditched all the significant reforms in the 1999 Amendment Bill and is instead advancing law changes that will make the Act even more bureaucratic. It has even ignored its own Compliance Cost Report which identified the RMA as the number one business concern. It is not promoting sustainable development and growth, it is holding New Zealand back.

"The Government does not understand business and is so politically compromised by the Greens that sensible reform cannot be advanced," said Mrs Shipley.

"National's policy is about high environmental standards without the stifling bureaucracy that is holding New Zealand back. We cannot justify the 25,000 pages of rules and regulations that have been produced by the RMA since it became law ten years ago, exactly to the day. In just the last five years, the number of appeals has quadrupled to more than 3000 and it now takes over two years to get a hearing. This compelling case for reform cannot be ignored," National's Environment spokesperson, Nick Smith said.

"Our proposals address the problems of costs, delays and uncertainty by streamlining the process, stopping abuse of the system and improving administration of the Act by Councils.

National's campaign will include 30 meetings from Kaitaia to Invercargill, talking with businesses, environmentalists, Councils, iwi, farmers and resource management specialists.

"Our campaign will highlight the difficulties caused by the Act and refine National's ideas for reform. Pressure must go on the Government to change tack," said Dr Smith.

Ends


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