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

 


RMA Changes Undermine Environmental Protection


Thursday 28 February 2013

Resource Management Act Changes Undermine Environmental Protection and Introduce Uncertainty

Government proposed changes to the Resource Management Act will undermine environmental protection and introduce uncertainty, the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO) says.

“The changes to the RMA would strike at the heart of the environmental protection objective of the RMA and the obligation on people to look after the future when they do economic activities”, says Cath Wallace, co-chair of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ, ECO.

ECO was responding to the discussion paper released by the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, today

“The paper proposes to remove four important principles from the Act. The Minister wants to remove principles to: maintain the quality of the environment; the ethic of stewardship; the protection of amenity values; and any consideration of the finite characteristics of natural and physical resources.”

“These changes undermines the protection of the environment in a fundamental way”, says Cath Wallace.

“The government is moving right away from the idea that we need to protect the environment as an underpinning requirement. Instead these changes would allow the environment to be sacrificed when short term economic benefits are high, even if irreversible damage to the environment results.”

This would be a huge loss to the present and the future, but of course it is attractive to those looking for short term gains.

“The Government is also continuing its moves to take powers from local government and to give it to itself. The government intends to direct Councils what to put in plans and what objectives should be. “This further over-rides local democracy.”

Cath Wallace said there was also a ongoing disturbing trend to reduce the role of the Environment Court in RMA decisions. “This is leading to a greater politisation of decisions by removing the neutral arbiter from decisions.”

Cath Wallace said Ministers could achieve national consistency if they simply used existing tools such as the National Environmental Standards and the National Policy Statements.

“The Government needs to better resource the Ministry for the Environment to produce these standards and policies, and to give more resources to the Environment Court.”

“There is a lot of rhetoric in the document about increasing certainty, but the proposals for combining the principles to be applied, in sections 6 and 7, will simply remove the guidance for everyone as to how considerations are to be ranked,” says Wallace

“There has been too much focus on the speed of decisions rather than looking at the quality of those decisions and the environmental outcomes.”

“A few of the changes that are some suggested would indeed help people, but overall the effect of the proposals will be to reduce the ability of affected people to have a fair say, while the applicants for activities or plan changes are going to be advantaged.”

“The environment will lose out while short term economic activities are promoted.”

“The government is sacrificing the interests of people who are affected by activities, the future, the quality of the environment and the environmental quality and capital on which ultimately we all depend.”

“The removal of amenity values and the ethic of stewardship principles show how little they care for the future and the quality of life,” said Wallace.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news