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

Joint Statement: Establishment Of NZ-China Strategic Partnership

At the invitation of Governor-General Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Prime Minister The Rt Hon John Key of New Zealand, President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China made a state visit to New Zealand from 19 to 21 November 2014.

During his visit, President Xi Jinping met with Governor-General Jerry Mateparae, and held talks with Prime Minister John Key. The leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of common interest. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Savings Targets: Health Procurement Plan Changes Direction

Next steps in implementing DHB shared services programme Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has agreed to explore a proposal put forward by DHBs to move implementation of the shared services programme to a DHB-owned vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

More on Health Policy:

Auckland Unification: 'No IT Cost Blowout' (Just More Expensive)

Following discussion of an update on Auckland Council’s Information Services Transformational Programme at today’s Finance and Performance Committee, council has released the report publicly. More>>

ALSO:

Other Expensive Things:

Gordon Campbell: On The SAS Role Against Islamic State, And Podemos

Only 25% of the US bombing runs are even managing to locate IS targets worth bombing. As the NYT explains at length, this underlines the need for better on-the-ground intelligence to direct the air campaign to where the bad guys have holed up... More>>

ALSO:

Public Service: Commission Calls For Answers On Handling Of CERA Harassment

EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Victory

So Andrew Little has won the leadership – by the narrowest possible margin – from Grant Robertson, and has already been depicted by commentators as being simultaneously (a) the creature of the trade unions and (b) the most centrist of the four candidates, which would be an interesting trick to see someone try in a game of Twister. More>>

ALSO:

China President Wishlists: Greens Welcome Xi, But Human Rights Need To Be On Agenda

“President Xi has made some progress on climate change, but he must also lift the Chinese government’s game on human rights issues,” Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said... It is important that our Government continues to urge the Chinese government to show restraint and respect human rights in both Tibet and the Xinjiang province.” More>>

ALSO:

Airport Security Breach: CAA Fines Minister

Minister Brownlee has been issued an infringement notice and is required to pay a $2000 infringement fine for breaching Civil Aviation Rule 19.357(b), which states no person may be in an airport security area without an appropriate identity card or document. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news