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Court fee increase another blow for environ-care

Court fee increase another blow for environmental care

Forest and Bird is warning that Environment Court fee increases are another blow to environmental protection in New Zealand.

"We've seen a few blows to environmental protection lately. Last year's changes to the Resource Management Act made it easier to exclude public interest groups from seeking to reduce the effects of environmentally damaging activities. More recently, some business leaders and politicians have called for the Resource Management Act to be gutted," Forest and Bird's Senior Reseacher Barry Weeber said.

Now the Government plans to make it more expensive for ordinary people to get involved in decisions that affect the environment. Organisations like Forest and Bird will still be able to afford to take part in Court proceedings, but ordinary New Zealanders will find it harder," he said.

"The Resource Management Act was meant to be a 'people's Act'. Its processes were set up to allow ordinary people a say about the activities that impact on them and their environment. It was meant to reflect the desire of New Zealanders to maintain our environment and quality of life," he said.

"The recent Growth and Innovation Board survey showed that New Zealanders don't want economic growth to undermine the environment or their quality of life. It's time business leaders and politicians took note and started to defend the Resource Management Act instead of griping," he said.

"Steps to undermine the Resource Management Act undermine the basis of New Zealand's economy - the environment. Without clean air and water, beautiful landscapes and a genuine reputation for a healthy environment, our clean green reputation will go - and with it a corner stone of our economy," he said.

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