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Whitianga Debacle Just One Example Of RMA Failure

The red tape that has stifled the Whitianga canal sub-division is having the same affect on the New Zealand roading network at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, Road Transport Forum NZ chief executive Tony Friedlander said today.

“The Resource Management Act process has delayed the sub-division in the same way it consistently holds up desperately needed roading projects, despite the huge benefits they would bring to both local and national economies,” said Mr Friedlander.

“The Auckland motorway network is a classic example. Often the same matters are re-litigated time and time again, with groups who are against development exploiting the system by using stalling tactics. All this does is delay the process, sometimes for up to five years, at a huge cost to the economy.”

“The RMA process needs streamlining and the opportunity for repeated hearings on the same subjects eliminated,” said Mr Friedlander.

“The Environment Court also needs far more resources to allow it to speed up the hearing of reasonable concerns. I see in the Whitianga example that an appeal delayed the project for 18 months and was then thrown out. This type of example costs millions and happens regularly with roading projects.”

He said if more Judges were available to the Environment Court, the time wasters could be dealt with swiftly, so the real issues could be covered quickly and projects could get started.

“Road users in Auckland and north of Wellington are sick and tired of waiting in traffic jams, while businesses depend on an efficient roading network,” said Mr Friedlander.

“I only hope this debacle in Whitianga will now make the policy-makers realise how desperately change is needed.”


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