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

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news