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RMA Principles Report Encouraging But More Boldness Required

RMA Principles Report Encouraging But More Boldness Required
Press Release by ACT Leader John Banks
Thursday, July 5 2012

ACT Leader John Banks today welcomed the release of the Technical Advisory Group’s report on the Resource Management Act, saying it is headed in an encouraging direction but still more boldness is required.

“Over the past 20 years, the RMA – originally intended to make development easier - has morphed into a nationwide bureaucratic nightmare for home buyers, property owners, and developers,” Mr Banks said.

“Reforming the principles in Sections 6 and 7 of the RMA is a good start. The principles as they stand give too much power to those who like to interfere with the property of others, and not enough rights to property owners.

“They include vague language such as ‘inappropriate subdivision’ and ‘intrinsic values of ecosystems’ that can be twisted to mean almost anything an objector to development might want.

“The new principles proposed by the Technical Advisory Group include much more emphasis on the benefits of development and infrastructure, and refer to more objective environmental concerns such as biodiversity.

“The addition of economic considerations to the principles is crucial in a country that badly needs to raise its productivity. It’s astonishing that adding economic considerations to the RMA has taken so long.

“However, we should not be fooled into believing that travelling in the right direction on the RMA means we have arrived at fixing it.

“While the proposed principles are an improvement, they still contain too much vague language. For example they require people exercising powers under the Act to consider ‘outstanding natural features’.

“This has little to do with the environment, and instead means councils can decide that they like the look of your land, call it ‘outstanding’ and place restrictions on its use.

“That is why the RMA has become such a growth killer. Unfortunately it survives this review,” Mr Banks said.

The ACT-National Confidence and Supply Agreement states ‘ACT believes a full review and rewrite of the RMA is necessary.’

The Technical Advisory Group’s report is available at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/tag-rma-section6-7/index.html

ENDS

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