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RMA Improved, But Reform Unfinished

Media Release
20 June 2005

RMA Improved, But Reform Unfinished

New Zealand First is pleased that changes to the Resource Management Act have resulted in a more balanced and democratic RMA, however it is still a work in progress.

“The Resource Management and Electricity Legislation Amendment Bill in its original form gave the Environment Minister substantial powers,” said Local Government and Environment spokesperson Jim Peters.

“The bill as reported back from the select committee amends and qualifies the Minister’s statutory functions, and recognises the role of trained, accredited commissioners in the consent process.

“Other improvements include a capacity for direct referral to the Environment Court and an elevated role for regional council planning, balanced by appropriate consultation with territorial councils. The ambiguous ‘urban form’ concept was dropped.

“However, since 2002 New Zealand First has urged a major review of the RMA, particularly with regard to Part 2, which sets out the rationale of the sustainability of development and matters of standing importance.

“After the election we will ensure that this pivotal part of the Act is properly revised.

“National policy statements with minimum public input, which this Labour Government favours, are no substitute for a considered review of Part 2.

“Although the current bill is likely to improve the RMA in practice, unfortunately the opportunity for overall reform was rejected by the present Government,” said Mr Peters.


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