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Baldock hails ‘significant reform’ of the RM Act

Baldock hails ‘significant reform’ of the Resource Management Act

The passage of the Resource Management Amendment Bill through the House under urgency this week represents a significant step forward in the process of reforming the RMA, according to United Future MP, Larry Baldock.

The party’s environment and conservation spokesman said negotiations between the Government and United Future have not only secured the long-awaited passage of the Bill itself, but also mean the reintroduction into the Bill of a provision allowing limited notification of resource consent applications with minor effects.

”But the RMA reform process does not end here and we will be working closely together on several of the concerns we have raised regarding the RMA and its operation. A lot of work remains to be done to fully address the costs, delays and uncertainty that have become such a major factor in many people’s experience with the Act.

“In particular,” said Mr Baldock, “United Future wants to see direct referrals to the Environment Court allowed for projects of national or regional significance such as electricity generation projects and major roads.

“We are making this a priority as it would represent significant progress towards meeting New Zealand’s rapidly growing roading and electricity generation needs. As a first step we will work with the Government to reduce the current backlog at the Environment Court. This work is already underway and we will soon be in a position to set concrete targets for achieving the necessary reduction.

“We have also discussed several other RMA issues with the Labour-led Government and we will be working over the next few months to find ways of achieving them.

“These include looking at:

reinstating the power of the Environment Court to require security for costs;

re-introducing the Historic Heritage provisions that have been omitted from the current Resource Management Amendment Bill;

and making it a mandatory requirement that councils consult with landowners before designating any part of their property a Significant Natural Area (SNA),” said Mr Baldock.

The Government and United Future agree the Resource Management Act needs to be reformed to reduce unnecessary costs, delays and uncertainty - but without compromising its environmental integrity.

“Today’s announcement and the passage of the Resource Management Amendment Bill are a significant step in that process,” he concluded.

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