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No projects will be exempt local consultation

05 October, 2004

No projects will be exempt local consultation

Suggestions that the government has some secret list of projects that will be exempt from local consultation are ridiculous, says Associate Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope says from the outset, the priority of the review of the Resource Management Act was protecting the environment and maintaining the opportunity for community involvement in decision-making.

"The solution has been to create a menu of options that local communities themselves can ask the government to explore, to help those communities to cope with large or complex consent applications that might potentially be overwhelming," he said.

An outdated list of 39 major infrastructure projects compiled by the Ministry of Economic Development in 2003 – long before the Government initiated a review of the RMA - appears to have been deliberately misinterpreted by Forest and Bird.

"The outdated early draft document that Forest and Bird have was never considered by Government as part of the review.

"The Government has no pre-determined view as to which RMA processes will be most appropriate for any project. That is for consent applicants and local authorities to consider for themselves – if and when any projects come to fruition.

"New provisions within the package of RMA improvements strengthen community involvement," said the Minister.

ENDS

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