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Leaked document 'smoking gun' of RMA abuse

Leaked document 'smoking gun' of RMA abuse

The National Party has uncovered a document that proves some Maori are taking a deliberate stand to block development.

"The leaked document, produced by Hauraki iwi Ngati Puu, proves the Resource Management Act has become wide open to abuse," according to National Party Environment spokesman Nick Smith.

Dr Smith says the document - "Kaupapa and Tikanga" - sets out Ngati Puu's approach to resource consents in its rohe, or area, in Whangamata.

"This document states that "1st rule on consent applications is: Object. 2nd rule on consent applications is: Object. If in doubt go back to rule 1," and also states "Time is of no importance to us, only the applicant."

"It goes on, "1st rule of objection is: Lack of consultation, 2nd rule of objection is: Ti tiriti O Waitangi, 3rd rule of objection is: RMA, 4th rule of objection is anything anyone can think of."

"This is scandalous and confirms widespread speculation the RMA has become a tool for abuse.

"Ngati Puu have been controversial objectors to all kinds of development in the Whangamata area - including plans to clean up the estuary to the demolition of the local public toilets.

"The iwi has also voiced opposition to several subdivisions, the Whangamata Marina and over the ownership of a rock used at the Ellerslie Flower Show."

Dr Smith says the Whangamata Marina was publicly notified in February 1996 and has been subject to numerous hearings before councils and the Environment Court, with Ngati Puu as a key objector.

"Those backing the project have spent $750,000 trying to gain consent and seven years later, they're still waiting on a decision.

"With this sort of proof Environment Ministry head, Barry Carbon, can't dismiss stories of abuse as "pub talk" while statements from Minister Marion Hobbs that the Act is "beautifully written and beautifully balanced" show how out of touch the Government is.

"To make matters worse, the Government's proposing even more powers for iwi under RMA amendments currently before Parliament, due to be passed in the next few months.

"This disclosure must trigger a major rethink of the Act if New Zealand's reputation as a place to do clean business is to stay intact," says Dr Smith.

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