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Package of improvements to RMA introduced

02 December, 2004

Package of improvements to RMA introduced to Parliament

The Bill to improve the quality of decisions and processes under the Resource Management Act has been tabled in Parliament today.

The Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Amendment Bill will increase certainty, reduce delays and costs, ensure consistency of processes, and improve the quality of decisions, says Associate Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.

“The legislative changes are just one part of a package of measures reflecting a stronger leadership role for central government in implementing and supporting the Resource Management Act,” said David Benson-Pope.

“In tandem we have been working in partnership with local government to make meaningful changes on the ground. Significant improvements will be made from enhancing the capacity, increasing the resources and strengthening the abilities of the main decision-makers. Training and compulsory accreditation of decision-makers will provide assurance regarding the skills and knowledge of those hearing consent applications."

The Bill strengthens the expression of national interest by reinforcing the role of national policy statements and national environmental standards. It provides mechanisms to manage competing national benefits and local interests, and provides a menu of tools for government to support local decision-making.

The Bill also improves local policy and plan making. Changes are proposed to streamline the plan-making processes to reduce compliance costs and end duplication of processes.

"We do not apologise for making the RMA work better," says Mr Benson-Pope. "It can and should be made to work better for all New Zealanders without compromising good environmental outcomes or public participation.

“We have talked extensively to industry and the community about what is needed. We are confident that this Bill will go a long way to addressing outstanding issues with the workability of the RMA.” The Bill also amends the Electricity Act 1992 to provide for the environmental effects of high voltage electricity works in the road corridor to be managed using processes under the Resource Management Act.

ENDS

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