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National Will Reduce Costly RMA Delays

3 July 2002

"National wants to reduce the amount of time and cost in getting decisions made under the Resource Management Act (RMA)," says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Changes are needed to the way the RMA is administered because New Zealand needs resource law that helps strong growth to create new jobs, and pay for the world-class education and health systems we all desire."

Mr English says National is determined to tackle the problem, while still maintaining high environmental standards.

"Abuse of the RMA is causing unnecessary delays and uncertainty, and costing us all dearly. Our changes will not alter the core principles of the Act, but will focus on the regulatory process and the way it is administered.

"There will be more emphasis on reducing unnecessary costs, delays and complexity, as well as addressing the variable processes of implementation by different local bodies."

Mr English says National's RMA initiatives include: monitoring and requiring councils to contain application costs, removing vexatious and frivolous objections by allowing the Environment Court to strike out objections from people not directly affected by an application, scrapping RMA legal aid, strengthening and extending mediation services, enabling Cabinet to refer significant projects that are slowing economic growth (eg Auckland's gridlock) direct to the Environment Court, introducing limited notification options, as well as removing 'aspirational' content from district and regional plans so the focus is on physical environmental effects.

"National remains firmly committed to an integrated approach to sustainable resource management.

"However, it is clear that unless changes are made to the RMA to reduce the growing number of delays and problems New Zealand's economy will continue to struggle to get ahead," Mr English added.


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