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RMA reforms will get business moving again

Hon Dr Nick Smith
National Party RMA Spokesman

30 September 2008

RMA reforms will get business moving again


National will introduce into Parliament, within 100 days of forming a new Government, a Resource Management Amendment Bill to streamline and simplify the Act, and advance this into law within six months.

That was the promise made by National’s RMA spokesman Nick Smith when announcing the party’s resource management policy today.

“We want to get business moving again by addressing the needless bureaucracy that is frustrating so many homeowners, farmers, and businesses, and to enable New Zealand to get on and build much-needed infrastructure.

“Our first phase of reforms will simplify the Act by reducing the number of consent categories, getting rid of vexatious and frivolous objections, making it easier for Councils to update plans, clarifying the vague Treaty of Waitangi references, and scrapping the Ministerial veto over coastal consents.

“We will address the frustrations of thousands of New Zealanders over minor consenting issues by establishing a new complaints mechanism with the power to discount or waive fees where statutory timeframes are breached.

“We will establish an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) so that our 85 councils do not have to reinvent the wheel. This new authority will be responsible for National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards, and major consents under our new ‘Priority Consenting’ process.

“The EPA will be created by expanding the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and will be modelled on successful EPAs around the world. It will be required to carry out priority consenting by making decisions on major infrastructure projects within nine months.

“The EPA will be created by using current resources allocated to the Ministry for the Environment and require no extra bureaucrats.

“A second phase of reforms, undertaken on a slower track, will address issues around infrastructure and the Public Works Act, improving water management and encouraging greater collaboration in city development.

“The RMA is holding business back. It cannot be allowed to continue if this country is serious about improving economic growth.

“National’s reforms are about getting good environmental outcomes without the high costs, long delays, and lack of certainty under the current Act.”

Ends

Policy document can be viewed at: http://national.org.nz/files/2008/RMA.pdf

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