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Committee to hear submissions on RMA

Rebel Parliamentary committee to hear submissions on RMA

A rebel Parliamentary Committee of National, ACT and NZ First members meet today in Auckland to hear public submissions in response to concerns over the Government's Resource Management Amendment Bill, on which the official Select Committee has been banned from hearing submissions by Environment Minister Marion Hobbs.

"Fixing the Resource Management Act is essential to resolving New Zealand's energy crisis and the huge roading congestion problems in a timely way. It is outrageous that the Environment Minister has blocked public submissions over an issue of such significance and has given the Select Committee effectively only two weeks to consider a 140 clause and 70 page bill."

The rebel committee wrote to interested organisations seeking submissions and despite the short timeframe, has been inundated with responses.

"There is uniform condemnation of the shonky process by which this bill is being advanced. Organisations as widespread and diverse as the National Council for Women, Ngai Tahu, Federated Farmers, Business Roundtable, NZ Mining Association, Construction and Forest Owners Associations do not believe this bill will help either the environment or the economy.

"The anger is understandable when the Government has had two years to consider the previous Select Committee's report on the Resource Management Act, but now expects the public and Parliament to consider the latest changes in two weeks.

"The most contentious parts of the Government Bill are to make protection of heritage a higher priority, to broaden the definition of heritage to include 'spiritual', 'cultural' and 'ancestral' landscapes and to make recognition of iwi planning documents mandatory. The removal of provisions providing for security of costs has also been widely criticised.

"This bill will do nothing to alleviate the widespread public concern about the costs, delays and uncertainties of the Resource Management Act and Opposition Parties will be doing everything possible to try and get the Government to listen," said Dr Smith.

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