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NZ'ers excluded from RMA standards development

27 July 2005 - Wellington

Mainstream New Zealanders excluded from RMA standards development

Mainstream New Zealanders are being excluded from the development of national RMA policy statements and standards according to a Cabinet paper released under Official Information Act.

"A small group of Government and commercial vested interests are writing all the infrastructure environmental standards and policies which will have far reaching impacts on the environment and local communities," Forest and Bird's Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell said today.

"This is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house" he said.

"These national environment standards and policy statements are too important to be written by the commercial interests who's activities they are meant to control."

"There are no environmental or public health interests represented on these reference groups." The public will have little confidence in transmission standards that have been developed by Transpower or electricity generation standards developed by the electricity generators and Business New Zealand, said Mr Hackwell.

"This is particularly worrisome given that the amendments in the Resource Management and Electricity Amendment Bill, which is expected to be passed by parliament this week, will allow the minister to fast track the process for finalising National Policy Statements and standards."

"Community groups representing the wider public interest should also be involved in the six reference groups established by Government."

"The work of these unrepresentative reference groups means that we can expect a rush of national policy statements and standards after the election with little opportunity for meaningful community input.

The Cabinet papers were released to Forest and Bird under the Official Information Act.

Notes: The six reference groups are: * Electricity transmission; * Electricity generation; * Telecommunications facilities; * Land transport noise; * Stormwater runoff; * Gas pipelines and facilities.

The Electricity transmission reference group includes Transpower and Federated farmers, but has no community, environment or health representation.

The Land transport noise reference group includes Ministry of Transport, local authorities and the Automobile Association. The Ministry of Health, health research organisations and community groups are not represented.

The Storm Water Runoff reference group includes Land Transport NZ and the Automobile Association but does not include any community, conservation, fishing or recreation representation.

ENDS


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