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Maori Party Holds the Line on RMA

MEDIA STATEMENT

21 MAY 2014

Maori Party Holds the Line on RMA

The Maori Party is pleased that its refusal to compromise on environmental values has defeated plans to fundamentally rewrite the Resource Management Act in favour of commercial interests.

“Our priority was always about maintaining environmental protections in the context of kaitiakitanga/guardianship," said Co-leader Tariana Turia.

“Environment management issues are tangata whenua issues, so we gave considerable priority to consulting amongst whanau, hapu and iwi, to read the lay of the land as they saw it. The RMA is a framework that all hapu and iwi would need to work within so it was important that we got the balance right.”

“Tangata whenua take seriously their role as stewards of the natural environment, and in this light the Maori Party were supportive of the move to make consenting procedures more efficient as long as the quality of the environment retained central importance," said Mrs Turia.

“Unfortunately the proposed changes to Sections Six and Seven of Part Two threatened to undermine the environmental principles of the RMA; tipping the balance to give a preference to economic development. We considered the rewrite went far beyond streamlining consenting procedures; diluting the emphasis on environmental sustainability and in the process running the risk of provoking years of litigation to address the inevitable uncertainty for planning and environmental management," said Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The Government’s decision not to proceed down the reform track recognises the Maori Party’s position. We remain firm in our stance that we will fight any move to weaken the driving principles and purposes of the Resource Management Act.”

"We appreciate the effective block formed by our votes in combination with United Future and other parties," said Dr Pita Sharples.

"Tomorrow is another day. We look forward to applying ourselves to the next challenge, and that is working closely with the Government to establish a national objective for safe primary contact with freshwater, in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.”

ENDS

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