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RMA - wake up and smell the coffee

25 July 2005

RMA - wake up and smell the coffee, says forest industry

The Resource Management Act is killing investment in wood processing, say forest industry organisations.

The NZ Forest Industries Council, NZ Forest Owners Association and NZ Pine Manufacturers Association joined today in urging politicians to follow through on undertakings to reform the RMA.

"We all know that new investment in wood processing is urgently required if we are going to process more logs onshore. However, the simple fact is that the RMA is killing legitimate investment opportunity in this country," said Stephen Jacobi, NZ Forest Industries Council Chief Executive, speaking on behalf of the three organisations.

Mr Jacobi said the industry had spent considerable time preparing a submission to Government on amendments to the RMA, but was dismayed to see the Bill bogged down in the legislative process.

"The forest industry is not opposed to sensible environmental regulation. However last week's Environment Court decision to decline a consent for a new, badly needed saw mill in the Coromandel is yet another clear sign the balance is wrong," he said.

"The purposes and principles section of the Act needs to be revisited to ensure that minor adverse effects cannot outweigh the substantial economic benefits that these proposed and existing projects deliver."

Mr Jacobi said Associate Environment Minister David Benson-Pope's list of mill projects planned in New Zealand over the next five years, released last week, was misleading.

"This list is a mish-mash of press speculation and projects for which resource consent has not even been sought. Most are for expansions of existing facilities or simply ongoing capital injections needed just to keep mills up to date. What is urgently needed in this country are new investments for which new resource consents are required. These are highly unlikely to see the light of day if the precedents set by the Whangapoua decision are followed".

(The industry's comments on the Benson-Pope list are appended below.)

Mr Jacobi said the industry welcomed expressions of support from political parties committed to reforming essential elements of the RMA.


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