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Resources Act imposing intolerable costs, delays

Media Release Friday, May 11th, 2001

Resources Act and political interference imposing intolerable costs, delays

The administration of the Resource Management Act, and political interference in its procedures, is imposing intolerable costs on society and restraining economic growth, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"The Select Committee's report on the RMA shows society is being held to ransom without thought for the jobs and wealth creating options that careful and timely developments would allow," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Political interference in the name of conservation, even by Ministers of the Crown, is making the situation worse.

"Whether it is the development of emissions-reducing transport infrastructure in Auckland, or the canal project in Whitianga, the costs of the applications, appeals and delays under the RMA are enormous.

"Some litigants withdraw their appeals the day before court hearings simply to cause delays.

"In light of this sort of permitted behaviour it is scarcely noteworthy that the Environment Court has a backlog of 3000 cases. More resources for the Court and better management of them is essential. But surely we can devise more efficient process as well.

"It is wildly ironic that in one instance Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton has to intervene to fast track the RMA application for Sovereign Yachts, then the Conservation Minister Sandra Lee puts the kibosh on the Whitianga canal project after five years of RMA procedure and approvals.

"She did this under a totally false pretext. There is nothing in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000 that was not already addressed under the RMA.

"This smacks of political interference to cater to vested interest groups hiding behind the Minister's skirt.

"Investment in New Zealand to grow wealth and jobs will dwindle to nothing if procedures under the RMA are not accelerated, and politicians do not keep the interests of the wider community uppermost."

Further comment: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (bus) 09 303 3951 (hme) 025 982 024


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