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Large numbers sign up for RMA training

17 February 2005

Large numbers sign up for RMA training

The government is putting on extra workshops to cope with strong demand for a new training programme to improve RMA decision-making, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"We have had a very positive response to the RMA training and certification programme 'Making Good Decisions'," Marian Hobbs said. "A total of 570 people have registered to attend the 21 workshops in February and March. In fact, we have put on four additional workshops in the main centres to cope with demand."

The programme is designed to help councillors, commissioners and community board members make better resource management decisions. The programme is being funded by the Ministry for the Environment, and run by the Auckland University Centre for Continuing Education.

"This programme will ensure RMA decision-makers have the skills they need to run fair and effective resource consent hearings and planning hearings," Marian Hobbs said. "Better RMA decisions will benefit local communities and the environment

'Making Good Decisions' will test participants' knowledge of the RMA and the hearings process, and ensure they have the skills to make legally robust and informed decisions. Course participants will be assessed before, during and after the workshops. Successful participants in this training round will be certified in June.

"The programme currently is voluntary," Marian Hobbs said. "However, under proposed changes to the RMA – in an amendment bill before Parliament – all hearing committee chairs will have to be certified within a year of the bill passing into law. Similarly, the majority of councillors and commissioners on hearing committees will have to be certified within two years of the bill passing.

"This is a great example of local and central government working together to raise the quality of RMA decision-making around the country," Marian Hobbs said.

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