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Changes to Resource Management Bill Supported

ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS

PO Box 11-057, Wellington

Phone/fax 64-4-389-1696

Email: eco@reddfish.net.nz

Media Release - For immediate release - Wellington -Wednesday 9 May 2001

Select Committee Report on Resource Management Amendment Bill Welcomed

The environmental coalition, ECO, today welcomed the recommendations of the Local Government and Environment Committee on the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

ECO spokesperson, Cath Wallace, said the environment group supported the majority of the Committee's recommendations which were reported back to Parliament yesterday.

"We support the Committee's recommendation not to proceed with amendments to limit public notification of resource consent applications; we need more notification, not less because people need to assess the impacts of activities on neighbours and the environment"

Ms Wallace said ECO and allied community groups endorsed the recommendations to retain the existing subdivision provisions, and to retain the non-complying activity category and the definition of "amenity values". "Amenity matters to people a great deal. Subdivisions can have huge impacts and need scrutiny."

"Other amendments the Committee recommended should proceed were also supported by ECO. These included a recommendation to give iwi planning documents greater weight, to remove the ability of the Environment Court to order security for costs, and to enable decisions not to publicly notify applications be appealed to the Environment Court.

"Wellingtonians are in an uproar at the failure of Wellington City Council to publicly notify applications to string cables across their views. There are many other cases where slack councils have not notified affected parties. Communities and environmental organisations all round New Zealand will welcome this."

Ms Wallace congratulated members of the Committee for the considered evaluation they had given to the Bill which was introduced by the previous Government in 1999.

"Members of the Committee are to be applauded for the attention they have given to assessing the merits of the amendments. The approach adopted by the Committee to improve the practice and procedures of the Act, without compromising environmental outcomes or reducing opportunities for public participation is to be commended", she said.

For more information contact: Cath Wallace (04) 389 1696 or (04) 463 5713.

Note:

The Resource Management Amendment Bill was introduced in 1999 under the previous National government. The Bill attracted strong opposition from environment and other groups, concerned at proposed amendments to remove environmental controls and reduce public participation. ECO was part of a coalition of environment, community, recreation and heritage groups opposed to the Bill.


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