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Local communities to be cut out of road decisions?

Hon Trevor Mallard
Environment Spokesman

23 October 2008 Media Statement

Local communities to be cut out of road decisions? Or another Maurice Moment?

Local communities look set to be cut out of decision making and consultation on big roading projects, according to comments by National's transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

"Maurice Williamson is telling road industry companies that priority roads will be exempt from the Resource Management Act – which means that local people would not have any say over proposed major developments in their areas," Trevor Mallard said. (see newspaper quote below)

"This seems to be yet another case of National's frontbench following John Key's lead and saying different things to different audiences. Who is telling the truth? Or is this just another Maurice Moment?

"Mr Key needs to show some leadership and set the record straight as this is an important issue for people around the country. He might also consider trying to bring his front bench into a unified line.

"This Maurice Moment goes way beyond fasttracking projects under the RMA – which until now I thought was the official National policy. Even the fasttracking idea is dangerous territory in terms of ensuring local people, including iwi and environment groups, get a solid opportunity to have a say, rather than superficial consultation.

"Aside from cutting public input, how will environmental issues and iwi concerns be taken account of without any application of the law?

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"I am sure many people would be outraged if they knew they would be cut out of the process in order for National and its developer mates to get a road rammed through."

According to the Upper Hutt Leader, Mr Williamson said the following during a visit to a roading industry company:

"Mr Williamson had critical words for the Resource Management Act which he described as a "disgrace". His party proposed declaring "roads of national importance" exempt from the RMA although still taking into account environmental issues." (Upper Hutt Leader, Oct 22, 2008)

ENDS

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