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Government's RMA Failure

Government's RMA Failure

The Committee of Parliamentary Opposition Parties hearing submissions on the RMA Amendment Bill heard overwhelming evidence today supporting the view that the Bill fails to address the Act's fundamental flaws, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and committee member Ken Shirley said today.

"The Bill focuses on minor tinkering with process, most of which will not achieve any improvement - and some of which will compound the unsatisfactory aspects of existing legislation.

"The Committee was told that the RMA is process-obsessed and driven by outdated command and control planning doctrine.

"The RMA needs fundamental reform, not a papering over of the cracks. It is little wonder the Government was not prepared to subject this RMA Amendment Bill to the full scrutiny of public objections - given the anger and frustration expressed by submitters to the Opposition Parties' special committee.

"Last year the Ministerial panel on business compliance costs wrote fifty recommendations aimed at reducing the compliance costs borne by businesses as a direct consequence of the RMA. The Bill before Parliament fails to address those recommendations and instead the changes proposed by Government will make the resource management process more costly and uncertain, with greater delays.

"The most damaging factor of the Bill is undoubtedly the open-ended and subjective definition proposed for "historic heritage". The Bill introduces "cultural landscape" and "ancestral landscape" as matters to be considered as part of historic heritage. This broadened scope can only exacerbate the existing problems, adding further costs and further delays," Mr Shirley said.

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