Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

RMA Bill blunted, still bad news for environment

20 June 2005
RMA Bill blunted, but still bad news for environment, locals

Many of the worst features of a Bill that aims to undermine the RMA have been removed by the Select Committee, but the Greens still oppose it because local communities are still going to be severely disempowered.

The Local Government and Environment Select Committee, chaired by Jeanette Fitzsimons, has substantially rewritten the Government's Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Amendment Bill.

"I am delighted that the Select Committee's recommendations have removed from this Bill many of the most worrying attacks on the RMA," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Greens' Environment Spokesperson.

"Draconian Ministerial powers have been curbed, punitive action against submitters has been softened and the 'promotion of infrastructure' as a key function of regional councils has gone. The Committee members all recognised that the move to truncate the Environment Court's processes and prevent it from hearing evidence already before councils was unworkable, so its mandate to hear all the facts will now remain intact.

"But it is clear that the intention of this Bill is to take away local people's say over the impact upon their areas of big controversial projects like power lines, dams, motorways and telecommunications towers. The Committee has removed many of the clauses that would facilitate this agenda, but not all of them. The remaining changes will still allow such developments to be forced on to communities against their will.

"For instance, the Greens are very concerned by the proposal that National Environmental Standards will now set maximum levels of environmental protection, thereby forbidding councils from setting higher local standards. When the RMA was first written, environmental standards were about ensuring a minimum level of protection everywhere. We fear they are about to change from a tool to protect the environment, to a sledgehammer to drive through industrial developments.

"We also oppose the new process for creating National Policy Statements, which will see them being drafted by a departmental official and allowing for only written submissions, not public debate or hearings. This will lead to quick, dirty and political National Policy Statements, without the cross-party buy-in intended in the original Act. They are likely to be changed by each in-coming government and create constant uncertainty in the planning process, which will be forever playing catch-up.

"There is no longer any appeal from decisions made under Ministerial call-in. Councils will have draconian powers to strike out submitters, meaning they have no right of appeal against decisions, for such things as not turning up to pre-hearing meetings or for submitting material the council thinks has no merit. We fear this will be used by some councils to turn away objections to projects they favour," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Committee's report is at:

www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Content/SelectCommitteeReports/237bar2.pdf

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More

 

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

“Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As an Aunty, I love reading books to my nieces, so it’s lovely to congratulate Joy Cowley, who is made a member of the Order of New Zealand today....More
Full list


Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>

ALSO:


Medical Cannabis: Bill Introduced to “ease suffering”

Health Minister Dr David Clark says making medicinal cannabis more readily available will help relieve the suffering of people who are dying in pain More>>

ALSO:

Campbell: On The Quest For Zero Net Carbon Emissions
Some would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not?
More>>

ALSO:

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages