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Partnership approach to resource management

Partnership approach to resource management critical to New Zealand’s future

15 September 2004

“The future of our country depends on how well local and central government work together on resource management issues,” Local Government New Zealand’s President Basil Morrison said today as the Government announced its proposed changes to the Resource Management Act.

“As a country we need sustainable management of our physical and natural resources but we also need to protect our economic growth and prosperity by investing in new developments. This is the challenge constantly faced by local government, one which the Government has acknowledged today with these changes.”

Mr Morrison congratulated the Government on recognising that local government is a pivotal player in resource management, yet there are some areas where central government need to take the lead.

“In this review our feedback has definitely been taken on board. The foundation stones of the Act have not been challenged and we are pleased to see recommended improvements to decision-making processes, the Environment Court processes and how to deal with issues of national interest. Resource management has to be a partnership between central and local government, particularly when large-scale projects of national interest are being considered.

“We agree with the Government that more education is needed on resource management and the Resource Management Act. While many people may complain about the current Act, in fact, it compares well internationally. Compliance costs are 10-15 percent less than in Australia and we are required to lodge fewer than half the number of applications for consent than Australia.”

“Every nation needs a process for resolving the inevitable tensions that exist between competing resource management interests. We support the Act; accept the significant responsibilities it places on councils, and look forward to seeing it work as well as it possibly can. This is a major step in the right direction but there is still a lot of detail to be worked through. We look forward to working with the Government to implement the changes,” said Mr Morrison.

The Government will incorporate its recommended changes into the Resource Management Amendment Act Bill No 3 with possible enactment in 2004. Councils will begin to plan for amendments to their resource management processes, which will be implemented once the bill is enacted.

ENDS

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