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Māori Party Calling On Govt To Ensure RMA Changes Don’t Undermine Māori Rights Or The Environment

Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is concerned by the Government’s new proposed RMA changes that would fast-track “shovel-ready” projects, and is calling on them to work with Māori to find projects that will create jobs while still protecting environmental concerns and Māori interests.

“The significant challenge ahead of us is ensuring that we recover our economy and create jobs in a way that addresses the needs of Māori and doesn’t further displace us from our natural environment. Government’s new proposal to rush RMA reforms risk doing exactly that, if iwi and Māori views aren’t completely included,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“Among many things the proposed new legislation intends to lower the threshold of permitted activity, apply designation processes that could compromise Māori whenua and wāhi tapu and use the EPA to oversee it, the very agency that the Court of Appeal found failed to recognise Māori rights and protection of the environment when accepting TTR’s seabed mining application.

“Any proposed reform to the RMA needs to assert and uphold Te Tiriti and rights of Māori and we will be making recommendations to Government to ensure that happens. The Minister must also commit to working closely with Māori communities to find clean, future focused projects that will create jobs while still protecting environmental concerns, wāhi tapu and whenua Māori interests.

“The pandemic has revealed the extent of our whānau struggling to survive, and Māori are likely to be the worst affected by the economic consequences of the lockdown, including with unemployment. We cannot return to normal economic life after lockdown, instead we need to ensure all people and the natural environment see the benefits of economic recovery.

“By working together we can ensure that we set the country on the path to economic recovery and get people back into work through fast-tracked projects while also recognising the importance of Te Tiriti obligations and protecting the environment,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

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