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

 


RMA reform an attack on Kiwi values

Trouble viewing this email? View it online: http://spinitwide.com/view/rma-reform-an-attack-on-kiwi-values

Media release from Fish & Game NZ

RMA reform an attack on Kiwi values

Analysis of the Government’s RMA reforms by Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC points to an alarming attack on the nation’s recreational and environmental values.

“Few people better understand the RMA than Sir Geoffrey, one of the original architects of the Act,” says Fish & Game NZ chief executive Bryce Johnson.

“In his report for the New Zealand Fish and Game Council, Sir Geoffrey’s expert analysis clearly shows that the Government’s proposed changes ‘will significantly and seriously weaken the ability of the RMA to protect the natural environment and its recreational enjoyment by all New Zealanders’.

“From the outset Fish & Game has been concerned that the Government’s so-called moves to ‘simplify and streamline the RMA process’ was a Trojan Horse for major changes to the Act to enable greater exploitation of New Zealand’s remaining finite natural resources. Our fears have been confirmed.”

Mr Johnson points out that while the RMA is often demonised by the Government and corporate industry for “creating delays”, Part 2 of the Act is a critically important foundation principle of “sustainable management” – it protects New Zealand’s recreational values, the environment, and the economy by underpinning the ‘100% Pure, clean green’ brand.

“Like any party involved in RMA processes, Fish & Game supports moves to shorten timeframes, improve planning processes and simplify planning documents, which can be achieved through the Government’s proposed process-orientated reforms, however it is totally unacceptable that National is using this as an excuse to attack the core principles of the Act, effectively lowering environmental standards.

“As Sir Geoffrey points out, many of the ‘process issues’ identified by the Government can be rectified without tampering with the environmental protection provisions.

“The question has to be asked: What is the Government’s motivation for taking the wrecking-ball to the environmental safeguards in Part 2 of the Act? Where is the analysis to justify this attack on Part 2? And is the Government representing the best interests of all New Zealanders, or a select minority of resource hungry corporates?

“Sir Geoffrey couldn’t find any justification for the Government’s proposals in his thorough analysis. In fact, he notes that ‘changes to Part 2 of the Act… are largely unnecessary and will lead to greater uncertainty and cost’.”

Mr Johnson says the unnecessary meddling with this prominent piece of legislation, combined with a woefully inadequate public consultation and submission period, is an assault on our environment and economy.

“The Government’s proposed changes to Part 2 of the Act will wreck existing case law and introduce massive uncertainty, put at risk an economy progressively built on the foundation of a ‘100% Pure, clean green’ brand now worth $14 billion; and a major concern for environmental and recreational interests is that it will effectively allow small streams to be turned into farm drains.”

Summary of key points in Sir Geoffrey’s analysis:

• 3. b. – “The proposed changes to Part 2 will significantly and seriously undermine environmental protection under the RMA. These changes are largely unnecessary and will lead to greater uncertainty and cost in the application and interpretation of the RMA.”
• 8. a. – “A number of the changes will substantially limit the ability of submitters to put forward evidence as to the environmental impacts of proposals…”
• 8. b. – “Proposals for greater central government intervention [are] inconsistent with the central principles of the Act.”
• 12. – “Core environmental values that currently have status as ‘matters of national importance’ will be diminished to mere ‘matters’, including: the preservation of the natural character of the coastal natural environment; the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes, and areas of indigenous vegetation and habitat; and the maintenance and enhancement of public access to beaches and waters. Other central environment factors, such as amenity values [recreation], the intrinsic value of ecosystems, and the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment will no longer be considered at all.”
• 13. – “The environmental principles that remain will be significantly weakened… These changes might seem small but they have serious implications…”
• 14. – “The proposed new section 6(n)… has the potential to exclude the environmental impacts of activities on small streams and waterways – despite the critical roles these play in the ecological integrity of river systems as a whole…”
• 15. – “The changes themselves are largely unnecessary… No research findings are offered in support of the policy contention made…”
• 16. – “[Government] concerns… not supported by fact…”
• 16. b. – “Courts and other decision makers under the RMA already routinely take account of social and economic considerations… These considerations have specifically included the national benefits of infrastructure, provision of affordable housing, and the value of making land available to meet future housing needs.”
• 16. c. – “Only a tiny number of resource consent applications are declined… 90 per cent of significant infrastructure projects successfully progress through the RMA…”
• 18. – “… the changes are unlikely to deliver the Government’s central stated objective to ‘make the system easier to use, increase its certainty and predictability, and reduce unnecessary duplication and cost’… Much of that case law will now be redundant, leaving decision-makers without guidance, and thereby increasing cost and complexity…”

• 19. – “These risks are exacerbated by the proposed new section 7… and can be expected to be the basis for considerable future litigation.”


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news