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Māori Party, United Future: RMA changes strike a rock

EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:00 am, WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2013


11 September 2013

RMA changes strike a rock

The Māori Party and United Future have decided that they cannot support the government’s latest proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, and have written to Environment Minister Amy Adams to outline their concerns.

“The changes do far more than rebalance the Act to make consenting procedures more efficient. We say the changes to remove emphasis on the ‘maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment’ fundamentally rewrite the Act and put a spanner in the works of the legal system, that will take years of litigation to fix up,” said Tariana Turia and Peter Dunne.

“The Resource Management Act was designed to ensure that our use of natural resources is sustainable. Changes to Part Two, which enshrine the driving principles, undermine the whole purpose of the Act,” said Mrs Turia.

Te Ururoa Flavell said “Sections 6 and 7 reflect the Maori principle that people are recipients and therefore stewards of the natural environment, rather than owners. The legislation should not be dealing with proprietorship, and we understand and support tangata whenua groups who believe merging these sections will undermine their role and responsibilities as kaitiaki to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment.”

“In the 20 years since the Act was passed, the environment is in a worse state by almost every measure, and the government’s proposed changes to facilitate development will make matters worse,” said Mr Dunne. “I do not accept that commercial interests should override the environmental principles of the Resource Management Act.”

“While we both agree that there could be useful improvements made in tidying up the process issues within the legislation, the changes to Part Two will create a level of uncertainty which will be counter-productive,” Mr Dunne said.

“We have written to Minister Adams to inform her that we cannot vote in support of the legislation as it currently sits.”

ENDS

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