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

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More

Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election