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 Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news