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RMA reference group offers real world perspectives

Hon David Benson-Pope
16 June 2004

RMA reference group offers 'real world' perspectives

Associate Minister for the Environment David Benson-Pope has named a five-member reference group to provide independent advice on the recently announced review of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

The members of the group are Graham Pinnell (Waikato sheep and cattle farmer), Shane Jones (Chairman of Sealord Group Ltd), Kate Mitcalfe (environmental lawyer with the Forest and Bird Protection Society), Basil Chamberlain (Chief Executive of the Taranaki Regional Council), and David Hill (Director of Hill Young Cooper Ltd consultancy).

“The group members all have extensive experience with the RMA that will be invaluable and will bring a practical ‘real world’ perspective to the process,” said David Benson-Pope. “The review – which works across several government agencies – is about putting in place an improvement programme for the RMA.

"The reference group will act as a sounding board to make sure the ideas proposed are both workable and desirable.”

The improvement programme, announced last month, focuses on five key areas: balancing local and national interests; local resource management planning; resource consent processing; natural resource allocation; and capacity and practice in local government.

“During the past 18 months, the Ministry for the Environment has met and talked with business people, environmental and community groups, practitioners and local government representatives. The areas we are focusing on were consistently raised as areas that need attention,” said David Benson-Pope.

"I also urge people from the broader community with an interest in resource management to feed their ideas and suggestions to the Ministry for the Environment.

“We welcome comments on how the RMA can be improved, through the Ministry for the Environment’s RMA website at www.rma.govt.nz. Interested parties will also have an opportunity to take part in public meetings planned for the main centres in July.”

Biographical details:

Graham Pinnell:
Graham is a Waikato sheep and cattle farmer and former professional engineer. He is currently a member of the Electricity Commission and is a former National Board member of Federated Farmers, and has had close involvement in a number of agribusiness and public policy issues. Graham has a Bachelor of Engineering (Natural Resources) and experience as a structural and hydraulics engineer. His previous government board appointments include: the Pesticides Board, Animal Remedies Board and Fertiliser Industry Advisory Board. With his practical farming experience and strong understanding of electricity industry governance, having been a consumer nominee on a number of electricity industry bodies, Graham is in a unique position to make a strong contribution to the to the group.

Shane Jones:
Shane has had a long involvement with Treaty of Waitangi issues at many levels including Waitangi Tribunal processes, claim negotiations, academic work and resource management issues at both a national and community level. He has experience in Maori economic development and is currently Chairman of Sealord Group Ltd, Chairman of Poutama Trust, a director of Airways Corporation and a director of Industry New Zealand. He is a former Deputy Chairman of Moana Pacific Fisheries and a former Harkness fellow and senior public servant.

Kate Mitcalfe:
Kate is an environmental Lawyer with the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. She has broad RMA experience, having practiced law with both Forest and Bird and Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartlett and Co. She has made submissions and attended hearings at the local authority and Environment Court level on district and regional plans throughout New Zealand and has considerable experience in Environment Court mediation. Her expertise in resource management law was reflected in her invitation to teach law at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Auckland University’s Planning Department in 2003. Kate has also completed a Batchelor of Science in Ecology and Botany. Kate’s nomination is supported by a range of NGOs, including: Forest & Bird, Fish & Game, Federated Mountain Clubs and the New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association

Basil Chamberlain:
Basil is the Chief Executive of the Taranaki Regional Council, which has earned an enviable reputation for the efficiency and quality of services it provides. He has considerable experience with the Resource Management Act. Basil is Deputy Chair of Local Government New Zealand's Resource Management Working Party and has chaired the Regional Councils’ Chief Executives Group. He was also a member of the National Science Strategy Committee for Sustainable Land Management and in 1996 was a member of the New Zealand Delegation to the OECD for the environmental performance review of New Zealand.

David Hill:
David is a Director of Hill Young Cooper Ltd, an Auckland-based public policy and strategic resource management and environmental planning consultancy. He has 20+ years experience in public policy development, environmental assessment, and management in New Zealand and overseas. David is a qualified social scientist and resource management planner with extensive experience in environmental and social impact assessment. He was a founding member of the Association for Social Impact Assessment and has been at the forefront of public policy development in the area of public participation. David is a Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute, a Foundation Member of the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand; a Member of the International Association for Impact Assessment, and a member of LEADR. David is immediate past-Chairman of the Auckland Conservation Board [appointed by the Minister of Conservation 1996 - 2003], and Chairman of the Auckland Museum Trust Board [appointed by the Auckland TLA Electoral College 2000 - 2004].


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