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Trust National With The RMA? - Yeah, Right!

3 July 2002

The National Party’s solution to delays in Resource Management Act processes would be undemocratic and cut people out of the process, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"Their promises ring particularly hollow when National is responsible for creating most of the delays and we are now dealing with them," Marian Hobbs said.

" National, in a born-again desire to make the RMA work better, has lost perspective on the crucial balance required in the RMA process. Fundamentally the RMA is about protecting our environment. Making it work is about relationships between people.

"National’s proposals to remove Environmental Legal Aid, allow 'direct referral' and limit the scope for objectors will tip the scale and lead to unsustainable development.

"National’s chronic under funding of the Environment Court led to a backlog of thousands of cases. The Labour led government has doubled the Environment Court's budget to $4 million a year to clean up National’s mess and this is having a significant impact in reducing the backlog of cases. The court is operating far more efficiently now.

"It is good to see National has now recognised the importance of central government working with local government to ensure the RMA is operated effectively.

" Labour has been doing this for three years. We've developed a best practice website, provided training for councillors and published a range of guidelines on working with the RMA. This is all about building an informed, educated and participating community.

"Labour has recognised the need for some change to the RMA, and has worked hard to improve its practical operation. But we also recognise that at its core the RMA is about sustaining our resources for the benefit of all. National's policies will move too far away from this principle, and would be a return to the politics of exclusion.

"National sees its policies as ‘reforms’. They are out of touch. National's RMA record is shameful, and no one should have confidence in them honouring their promises."

Ends

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