Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Labour Threatens The RMA For Christmas

The Labour Government is threatening the fundamental tenets of the Resource Management Act, says Forest and Bird.

The Government plans to pass an amendment to the RMA that will severely reduce opportunities for public participation in the planning process. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs made an announcement earlier today, in response to the Business Cost Compliance Report (Striking the Balance), that the RMA will be amended to limit public notification.

Forest and Bird's environmental lawyer Kate Mitcalfe says "the changes the Government propose will undermine the RMA and shatter Labour's green image." "This amendment is worse than the changes that were originally proposed by the National Party."

Ms Hobbs has said that public notification will be reduced to cut the costs involved in the planning process. Forest and Bird supports the goal of reducing unnecessary costs - but not at the expense of fair decision-making and stopping communities from having a say about development on their doorstep.

"The Minister is being poorly advised if she considers that reducing the ability of communities to participate in environmental decisions will create better environmental outcomes," says Ms Mitcalfe.

"Opportunities for public participation in resource management decision-making are already very limited. On average, only 5% of resource consent applications allow any opportunity for public comment."

"The Government is proposing to create even more barriers to public participation in important environmental decisions that affect the community. This will only undermine the quality of decision."

Ms Mitcalfe says that public participation ensures that all the information is available and properly balanced, and that it creates fair and sustainable decisions.

Another decision by the Government that will restrict public participation is the retention of the cumbersome judicial review process to challenge notification decisions, rather than allowing an appeal to the more accessible Environment Court.

"These changes might reduce the costs to the developer, but at what cost to the community and the environment?

"Shutting the community out of decisions that affect their environment, only to allow developers to make a quick dollar, will lead to ad hoc development at the cost of clean air, land and water, and public health and enjoyment."

Ends

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

On average, only 5% of resource consent applications are currently publicly notified, allowing any opportunity for public comment. In addition, more than 99% of all resource consent applications was granted last year and only 1% of applications were appealed.

EXAMPLES OF NON-NOTIFIED APPLICATIONS

* A non-notified resource consent for a flockmud landfill at Waipu, south of Whangarei. Monitoring by Northland Regional Council has detected toxic waste in the landfill. Had the application been notified, local residents would have been able to voice their concerns, and the contamination would have been avoided.

* A non-notified coastal permit issued by the Wellington Regional Council to farm the alien invasive seaweed Undaria in Wellington harbour. Yet, considerable resources have been directed to trying to eradicate Undaria from Stewart Island and Bluff.

* Various burning permits in the Canterbury and Otago Regional Council areas, despite impacting on identified significant natural areas.

* A consent to coal mine under Paparoa National Park (Buller District Council).

* Timberlands consent to log in Orikaka forest (Buller District Council).

* A non-notified consent to hang cables granted by Wellington City Council to Saturn Communications.

* Subdivision of a coastal block at Thompson's Point on Waiheke Island, which began illegally without a resource consent. Part of the works was in a wetland area where earthworks are not permitted under the District Plan. The earthworks are visible from public places and from the sea. The applicant then applied for retrospective non-notified resource, which has subsequently been approved by the council.

* Onetangi Hotel landfill - The applicant applied for consent to construct bunding and backfill with clean fill. The earthworks were adjacent to a public reserve and in the centre of Onetangi Village. The reserve is largely flat low lying wetland. It was approved as a non-notified application.

* Non-notification of an application by Fletcher Challenge Energy to carry out seismic surveys (New Plymouth District Council). The surveys had significant adverse effects on the local community. Drilling also encroached into Maori burial grounds.

* Non-notification of new 42 dwelling subdivision development, Chartwell.

* Non-notification of multi-storey apartment development, Kelburn Parade, Wellington. Development had significant adverse and ongoing effects on neighbours. The recent Assignment programme covered this application.

* Non-notification of a consent to clear-fell 100 ha in the Catlins granted by Clutha District Council.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Bridges’ ‘Meth Crooks’ Leadership Failure

Back in June, Bridges publicly accepted that Housing NZ had got it wrong, and that the National government had acted upon bad advice.

Now, you’d think this admission would create a broad bi-partisan basis for compensation to those families who had been unfairly evicted, at considerable cost and emotional distress. Some people had lost their possessions in trying to meet the expense of the upheaval.

Not everyone felt so compassionate. More>>

 

Multimedia & Transcript: Acting PM's Press Conference

Winston Peters, Acting Prime Minister while Jacinda Ardern is in New York for the UN Leaders' Week, held a short press conference Monday after chairing this week's cabinet meeting. More>>

General Assembly: Ardern Rejects Trump Call For War On Drugs

New Zealand will not be signing the United States' document calling for global action on the war on drugs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Ms Ardern is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week, along with about 140 other world leaders. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Cabinet Funds Deal For Oranga Tamariki Social Workers

The Minister said that an agreement in principle has been reached between Oranga Tamariki and the PSA on a settlement worth $114.6m over five years. More>>

ALSO:

Hunting v Pest Control: Tahr Control Needed To Protect Alpine Habitats

A cull of introduced Himalayan tahr browsing conservation land in Kā Tiritiri o Te Moana/ the Southern Alps is needed to protect special alpine plants and their habitats, Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage said. More>>

ALSO:

Protest At Sea: Judge Discharges Greenpeace Activists

The judge today discharged Norman and Howell without conviction, saying the cumulative consequences of a conviction would be out of proportion to what was “low level” offending off the Wairarapa coast in April 2017. More>>

ALSO:

No Reshuffle: Meka Whaitiri Removed As A Minister

Meka Whaitiri will be removed as a Minister with immediate effect... The decision was made after receiving a report into an incident that occurred on 27 August in Gisborne, involving Meka Whaitiri and one of her staff. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels