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RMA TAG Recommendations Best For Economy

RMA Technical Advisory Group Recommendations Best For Economy
Press Release by ACT Leader John Banks
Monday, September 10 2012

ACT Leader John Banks says that the protest letter from the usual suspects over RMA reforms is a good reason why Minister Adams should press on with adopting the RMA reform recommendations of the Technical Advisory Group’s Third Report.

The letter was written by several environmental lobbyists criticising the recently released Technical Advisory Group report on the principles of the RMA.

“This letter has little to do with the environment and everything to do with protecting the environmental industry,” Mr Banks said.

“The reforms proposed by the Technical Advisory Group are modest and sensible - if anything they are just a start. There is still a lot more to be done with the RMA, which is one of the biggest handbrakes on the New Zealand economy.

“The proposed changes put the focus of the RMA back onto true environmental concerns – air and water, species and soil – and takes out those parts that allow interferers, especially professional ones like some of the groups behind this letter, to stymie the use and development of private property.

“The changes would remove RMA provisions that sound nice but are a legal nightmare to interpret, such as protecting the ‘intrinsic values of ecosystems’ and ‘the ethic of stewardship.’ Such provisions are so vague that anyone can challenge anything, holding back business and development nationwide.

“Not only does the protest letter not accept the modest and sensible proposals from the Technical Advisory Group, it counter proposes alternatives that would make the RMA even worse.

“The group propose more explicit requirements for urban planning, deciding whether farmers can sell their land for residential development based on based on the perceived value of the soil for food production, and having Wellington issue more National Policy Statements over the top of local governance.

"The political divide could not be clearer. As Minister for the Environment, Minister Adams can continue with sensible reforms that leave genuine environmental protections in place, or she can yield to the professional environmental lobby.

"ACT is on the side of New Zealand property owners, and their right to use and develop their property within sensible and clear environmental guidelines," Mr Banks said.


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