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Website Encourages RMA Consistency

Helping to ensure the consistency of district plans around the country is a major aim of a new website launched today by Environment Minister, Marian Hobbs.

The Quality Planning website is aimed directly at planners. It includes guidance on the planning process, contact points throughout the country, a large data base of publications and a discussion forum.

"In light of recent criticism about Resource Management Act implementation, it's good to see a project that provides the basis for a continuing improvement in the way planning is done under the RMA," Marian Hobbs said.

The website should help planners working at the coalface of resource management do their job better.

"There is a huge discrepancy in the resources available to councils to direct at planning. While the issues are often unique to a particular place, this project will go some way to giving, for example, a West Coast planner some of the resources available to a planner working in a large metropolitan council.

"It levels the playing field for planners around the country. All the information is instantly accessible now, largely thanks to the Internet," she said.

The website is the result of a number of organisations ƒ{ led by the Ministry for the Environment ƒ{ working together to improve the quality of plans. These included the New Zealand Planning Institute, Local Government New Zealand, the Resource Management Law Association and the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.

While the web site forms the basis of the Quality Planning project, it doesn't have all the answers. The Ministry for the Environment is looking to all areas of implementation of the RMA and will do everything it can to encourage 'best practice' across the board, she said.

The Minister launched the site at Nui, one of Wellington¡¦s Internet cafes ƒ{ housed in the Wellington City Council buildings.

The website address is: www.qualityplanning.org.nz, or contact the Ministry for the Environment for more information.

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