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Slating of RMA changes a warning to Government

Slating of RMA changes by Environment Commissioner a warning to Government

Stinging criticism of proposed changes to the resource Management Act from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, should be a wake-up call for the Government, says Maryan Street, Labour's Environment spokesperson.

"In a submission, released today, Dr Jan Wright focuses on the proposed changes to Sections 6 and 7 of the RMA, which express the purpose and principles of the Act, saying they will ‘fundamentally change the role of the RMA and erode the environmental protection it provides’.

“The Commissioner may be stating her own concerns, but they echo those of thousands of people who have been alarmed by the stated purpose of the reforms.

"Those concerns hinge around the fact that the law - which is meant to protect our beautiful environment - is being undermined to the point of uselessness by the wish to 'balance' economic development with environmental values and protection.

"The Commissioner even warns that the RMA 'is not, and should not become, an economic development act'.

“The Government should take her warning seriously. Its rushed process, allowing barely four weeks for public consideration of proposals to amend the RMA, and just three weeks for public consideration of proposals on water quality and management, suggests a sinister agenda for the environment.

"The emasculation of the RMA flies in the face of everything New Zealanders hold dear about our environment and its value and benefit. Altering the purpose of the RMA in this way is about as destructive as putting a tunnel through from the Dart River to Milford.”

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