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


Pet projects get special treatment in RMA reform

Pet projects get special treatment in RMA reform

New Zealanders may want a clean green environment, but the Government has put greater weight on giving pet infrastructure projects a helping hand in today's announcements on the RMA review.

"It's a pity that the Government has put politics ahead of good environmental decision making. We hope that people go to RMA Minister David Benson-Pope's advertised RMA meetings and urge him to start putting New Zealand's environment and our valuable 'clean green' reputation first," said Forest and Bird spokesperson Geoff Keey. "We're obviously relieved that earlier proposals to amend the purpose and principles of the RMA have been abandoned, but a number of today's proposals are way off the mark," he said.

"We have consistently asked the Government if there is evidence to justify special processes for pet infrastructure projects and we still haven't seen anything. It seems that a lack of justification is no barrier to changing the law," he said.

Key changes that will favour pet infrastructure projects include:

* Central Government 'national interest' submissions * Modified call-in process * Extension of call-in to include private plan changes and * A new 'menu of options' for addressing the national interest in major projects * Reduced appeal rights for major projects * Priority given to National Standards and Policy Statements on infrastructure

"It's hard to accurately assess the vaguely worded proposals in today's public announcement, but it has modernized Think Big written all over it," he said. Why is the National Policy Statement on Biodiversity currently under development not on the list of National Policy Statement priorities for the Government? In fact none of the existing matters of national importance listed in the RMA have been identified as a priority for national policy leadership by the Government," he said.

"Recently, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Sciences published research showing most of New Zealand's lowland streams and rivers are too polluted to safely swim in. Clearly cleaning up New Zealand's lowland streams and rivers is a priority for national standards, but it has been completely overlooked in this review" he said.

"The Government's proposed changes to the development of national policy statements will create political ping pong as it is easier to develop national policy statements. They will change with every Government. What is of greater concern is that these policies can be so quickly developed that they will leapfrog the local planning process, removing the ability of local communities to contribute," he said.

"The Government has also put up a whacky proposal to allow developers to submit inadequate applications that don't disclose the environmental consequences of what they plan to do, by removing the need for further information. This is likely to result in developments getting permission even when the damage to the environment is not fully understood," he said.

"We welcome the proposal for appeals on notification decisions, but we want to see a timeline for it, not some vague assurance," he said. "We also welcome compulsory accreditation of RMA councillors, new money for the Ministry for Environment and an expansion of best practice work. It is just a pity that these sensible and positive proposals have been overshadowed by others with serious consequences for the environment and the community," he said.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news