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RMA changes just keep getting worse

RMA changes just keep getting worse

National says businesses, farmers and homeowners looking for relief from the costs and uncertainty of the Resource Management Act will be sorely disappointed with the Amendment Bill, as reported back to Parliament by the Select Committee today.

"It was bad but now it is even worse," says National's Environment spokesperson Nick Smith. Labour, Green and United members have further amended the Bill to make non-notification more difficult, and the prospects of getting consents harder by overruling existing case law over permitted baselines.

"This means more of the 50-thousand consents processed each year will need to be notified and that getting consents will be more difficult at a hearing. It means more cost, more bureaucracy and more delays.

"National is bitterly disappointed that the nebulous phrases calling for protection of "cultural landscapes", "ancestral landscapes" and spiritual values have been retained without any definitions.

"These new provisions will provide a field day for lawyers and prove a nightmare for those trying to create wealth or build new roading or electricity infrastructure.

"The Government makes much of the new limited notifications procedures, despite the provisions being a very watered-down version of that proposed by Simon Upton. The notion that these provisions will reduce compliance costs in this form is pure fantasy.

"This whole process has been a sham. The idea that a 141-clause Bill, covering more than 100 pages, can be properly scrutinised in less than a month is a joke.

"The only guarantee the Select Committee can give on this Bill is that it will contain errors and the law will have to be revisited yet again.

"This Select Committee report represents a huge lost opportunity. It sentences New Zealand to ongoing uncertainty over power supply and many more years of stifling traffic congestion," says Dr Smith.

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