Māori Party Urges Govt To Proceed With Caution On Scrapping RMA
The Māori Party is urging the Government to proceed with caution in response to Minister David Parker committing to support a new report’s proposals to scrap the RMA and replace it with two new pieces of legislation.
“We agree that the RMA needs reform, but this must be about strengthening environmental and Te Tiriti rights, not prioritising development at the cost of our rights,” said Māori Party Co-leader and Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
“There is still great uncertainty about the proposed reforms and so the Government needs to proceed with caution and ensure that environmental protection, mana whenua rights and public participation are priorities within any new legislation.
“Minister Parker has said that Labour will be campaigning on the reforms as Government policy, and so it’s essential that he explains to the public how his proposed legislation would work and is clear on the detail.
“One of the key questions we have is how will the three proposed pieces of legislation work with each other? We have concerns that they may be drafted so that development can take legislative precedence over environmental protection and public participation, given one of the underlying goals is to streamline planning processes and speed up development.
“We also have concerns with the proposal to replace more than 100 district, city and regional plans and policy statements with only 14 regional plans as this could make it more difficult for mana whenua and local communities to be heard and have their rights recognised in planning processes.
“We welcome the proposal that legislation must ‘give effect to’ the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, instead of merely taking them into account, however this should go further – legislation should reference the articles of Te Tiriti, and processes must move beyond consultation to engagement and actual negotiation with mana whenua,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.