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United Future battles for small business

United Future battles for small business

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, and environment spokesman, Larry Baldock, said today their party's support for the Resource Management Amendment (No.2) Bill was aimed at benefiting small businesses, that make up over 99% of the total number of enterprises in New Zealand, and employ over 60% of the workforce.

The two men said "There are two key aspects of this Bill that were pivotal to our decision to support it in its current form. The first is the reintroduction of clauses that allow limited notification of resource consent application for activities with no more than minor effects.

"The second is the removal of clauses that would have meant that the Environment Court would have to hear appeals on council decisions not to publicise a resource consent application.

"The limited notification category for activities with minor effects will give (mostly) individuals, families and small businesses the freedom to make small improvements to their properties without being subjected to crippling amounts of red tape.

"The purpose of the RMA is to protect the quality of New Zealand's environment, so there is no gain to be made by subjecting people who want to do things that will have very little impact of the environment to frustrating extra administrative costs and delays. It's just not common sense!

"We have reached an understanding with the Minister for the Environment that the first step to improving RMA outcomes is to reduce the backlog in the Environment Court (through this Bill and through later legislative and non-legislative reforms).

"The clauses in question, if allowed to remain in the Bill, would have run contrary to this goal by seriously adding to the workload of the Environment Court and increasing the backlog of cases rather than reducing it.

"The United Future Party does not support all aspects of the Bill, indeed we will be proposing major reforms to the Act in the months ahead, but we think it important to start the process now.

"When it comes to a piece of legislation as pervasive and contentious as the Resource Management Act, progress is bound to be painstaking and has to be undertaken one step at a time. In the eight months since our seven new MPs were elected and decided that reform of the RMA was a key priority, we have worked closely with the Government on this issue and have achieved that much needed first step.

"The RMA reform process does not end here. The passage of the Resource Management Amendment Bill into law will establish a sound platform from which further reforms can be undertaken.

"Our focus will be on the impediments the RMA poses for New Zealand's economic growth, but at the same time we won't lose sight of the purpose of the RMA, which is to protect the quality of New Zealand's unique environment.

"Economic growth and environmental quality are not mutually exclusive goals, and United Future will continue to work towards sensible, common sense solutions to both," Mr Dunne and Mr Baldock concluded.

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