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Procedural Tinkering With RMA Not Good Enough -ACT

New Zealanders expecting Government to this week put an end to the nonsense of the Resource Management Act will be bitterly disappointed with National's RMA Amendment Act.

ACT Environment Spokesman Hon Ken Shirley today told the Local Government Conference in Auckland that after years of Government hand-wringing and consultation the Bill, that will come before Parliament this week, is a limp document that only contains procedural tinkering.

"It is clear the Government has no intention of passing the RMA Amendment Bill before the election.

"Sections 4,5 and 6 of the Act are where the Government really needs to make changes. The scope of the Act must be narrowed and the focus sharpened to confine it strictly to the management of natural and physical resources. All the nebulous provisions relating to social, including cultural, engineering should be removed from the Act.

"Section 32 requiring councils to consider alternatives to regulatory controls should be clarified and strengthened. Private property rights must be better recognised and protected and any appropriation for public good purposes must involve negotiation and compensation as appropriate.

"The administration and implementation of the RMA is a disaster for farmers, businesses and all New Zealanders who own their own property. It is one of the key issues for rural New Zealanders this election. They are fed up and have waited too long for Government to free them from the RMA nonsense.

"Why should farmers put up with local government bureaucrats telling them what colour they can paint the woolshed?

"The implementation of the Act has treated farmers as environmental vandals with no account for the years they have spent caring for their land and natural resources. Care for the environment has to be a partnership. It is a partnership that farmers are more than happy to work for if the rubbish in the Act is cut out.

"The RMA remains one of the most contentious issues for local Government. The Government is as much to blame for the disastrous implementation of the Act. Having totally reordered local government structures in the late 1980's, central Government dumped this all embracing but conceptually nebulous Act on local government and then said 'you're on your own- it's all yours- don't look to us for help," said Hon Ken Shirley.

ENDS

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