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

 


RMA Environment loses out changes will destabilise

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ

Resource Management Act

Environment loses out, changes will destabilise policy, favour "think big" applicants

Changes announced to the Resource Management Act are likely to cause policy flip-flops and major difficulties for community and environmental groups says Cath Wallace, spokesperson for the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ, ECO, an organisation of 65 organisations.

"The proposals have strong similarities with "Think Big" in the provisions for government to line up behind a favoured "national interest" proposal", says Cath Wallace. "Of particular concern and interest will be the process by which a proposal is deemed to have "national interest" .

"This "national interest" status has not been explained in the papers published by the government today. A 2003 proposal had the applicant, the Minister of Economic Development and the Cabinet deciding this without first obtaining any environmental reports or getting any kind of public input. It is an applicant's dream to be picked as having favoured status before anyone else has a say, and a nightmare for the environment."

"National Policy Statement processes proposed under the scheme may lead to severe policy instability", says Wallace, who is also a Senior Lecturer in public policy and economics. "The government proposes to diminish the processes for setting these policies. This means that policies may have little agreement or acceptance.

"Successive governments may seek to change the policies - but each time that happens, Regional Policy Statements and Plans and District level Plans also have to change. By going for the quick change mechanism, governments will set off cascading waves of change which will destabilise policy at all levels of government. We think the government has not thought this through.

"ECO welcomes the fact that the Purpose and Principles of the Act appear not to be changed and acknowledges those in Cabinet who held out against the attacks on these. But it is important that these are not underminded by the new measures and processes for policy development, "national interest" and consultation.

"There are some new measures that will help - but the new, complicated and burdensome processes at local government level are a mad response to difficulties perceived in the Environment Court - which are already being addressed successfully.

Communities will hate that local government hearings will be far more demanding on parties. It will make it far harder community groups and ordinary folks and the environment will suffer. There were 49,000 resource consent applications last year of which only 5% were publicly notified. Yet these are to become much more laborious for the sake of the tiny fraction which go to the Environment Court. That is counter-productive and will create more delays. It will leave the environment with less protection.

"Overall these changes are disappointing for their focus on applicant and local body interests and their disregard for the environment itself, said ECO.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news