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RMA Reform Package Gets A “B” Says Fish & Game

Thursday September 16, 2004

RMA Reform Package Gets A “B” Says Fish & Game

Fish & Game, one of New Zealand’s leading environmental agencies, which is heavily involved in Resource Management Act consents, said the Government’s announced “reforms” of the Resource Management Act were good.

“We believe the Government has kept the environmental goals of the Act while achieving a balance with economic development. It has heard the message that the Act itself works well, but it has been the resourcing and administration of the Act that has caused problems and it very encouraging to see increased funding ,” says Neil Deans, Fish & Game spokesperson.

“Central Government needs to demand greater accountability in the performance of Local Government to avoid problems. For example, the recent independent review by NIWA showed the deterioration of water quality to below human health protection in most lowland waters. Government needs to show leadership and give higher priority to fixing these problems, particularly for water management, which threatens both our lifestyle and our unique point of difference in the international market place, the much vaunted ‘clean green image,’” says Mr Deans.

“Another critical problem has been the over devolved, hands-off Central Government philosophy with the Act which has not worked. In this package of proposals we see greater Central Government support and involvement to help Local Government. It should make a significant difference with appropriate resourcing,” he says.

“We are very pleased to see the disastrous proposal to change Part Two of the Act – it’s principles and purpose – has been dumped. This is a defeat for those who want to gut the Act and turn it into a National Development Act.”

“The proposals to develop more national policy statements and environmental standards, are critical to the effective functioning of the Act, and the lack of progress in this area in recent years has been scandalous. Therefore, to see the proposal to progress these polices at a greater rate is good news and well overdue.”

“We are also pleased with the mandatory accreditation of hearings panel members, and improved Local Government policy and plan making.”

ENDS


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