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New RMA training programme for councillors

18 October 2004 Media Statement

New RMA training programme for councillors

Helping councillors and commissioners make better resource management decisions is the aim of a programme launched today by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs.

“The Making Good Decisions programme will give councillors and independent commissioners the skills they need to run fair and effective resource consent and planning hearings,” Marian Hobbs said.

“Every day our councillors and commissioners make important decisions that impact on our communities and our environment. We want to be sure the decisions are informed, high quality and consistent throughout New Zealand.”

The programme links with the the government’s package of proposals to improve the implementation of the Resource Management Act (RMA), announced last month. The proposals include:

- phasing in mandatory certification for RMA hearing panel chairpersons and the majority of commissioners;
- placing more importance on the council hearings process; and
- requiring the Environment Court to have more regard to council decisions in making its decisions.

“These proposals highlight the importance of ensuring our local decisions are robust,” Marian Hobbs said.

“The Making Good Decisions programme builds on the excellent work already being done by councillors and commissioners making decisions under the RMA.

“But it recognises that just because someone has been elected to council doesn’t mean they necessarily know any more about the RMA than the person on the street.”

The Making Good Decisions programme is particularly timely, given the election of new councillors in this month’s local body elections.

“The Making Good Decisions programme has been developed jointly by the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand, in consultation with stakeholders and professional bodies,” Marian Hobbs said.

The first Making Good Decisions training workshops will be run by Auckland University in February and March next year. Registrations open on 18 October and close on 15 December this year, and councillors and commissioners are encouraged to enrol.

Further information is available on the Ministry for the Environment website at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/

ENDS

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