Don’t get shut out, make your voice heard on the RMA

Environment Minister, Amy Adams recently launched a “discussion document” on National’s latest proposals to weaken the Resource Management Act (RMA).  She then sought to shut down any discussion by attacking environmental groups and the Greens by claiming we were “out of touch” and “scaremongering” with our criticisms of National’s proposed changes to the RMA. The RMA is the cornerstone of how communities protect the places and spaces that they hold dear. It sets the framework for what can happen in a place.

Open spaces or subdivisions?

We know New Zealanders want our neighbourhoods and wild places protected from unwise development, just as respected organisations such as EDS and Forest and Bird do. The Government doesn’t seem to agree. It has given you the opportunity to tell them they are wrong. That you want to be able to stand up for the places that you hold dear.

What the Government wants to do to the RMA is not okay. National’s proposals include:

–       weakening the core environmental protection principles at the heart of Act and its sustainable management purpose. This would make it harder to stop environmentally destructive projects;

–       increasing the ability of Ministers to interfere and direct councils to changes their regional and district plans. More decisions will be made in the Beehive, instead of in local communities.

–       allowing Ministers to push through projects and ignore environmental impacts if they want to;

–       allowing certain types of resource consents (mining perhaps?) to not be publicly notified so there is no chance for the public to say and decisions are made in secret.

–       severely curtailing the role of the Environment Court

–       limiting public involvement in resource consent decisions to reduce the costs to property developers, miners and others.

The Minister is right when she says that “and it is now time for the Government to step-up[.]” But instead of stepping up to help developers how about the Environment Minister standing up for the environment instead of further weakening the RMA ?

The Government is only allowing a very short time until 2 April to comment on the proposals. The Ministry for the Environment’s schedule of public meetings is here. Remind the Government that we want to be able to protect the places we love by making a submission or speaking out at a meeting.

10 Comments Posted

  1. “Campbell Barbour has lost count of the millions of dollars he has lost in interest payments, legal costs and lost opportunities as he tried to get consent for his company’s “Westgate” town centre in northwest Auckland.

    The general manager of New Zealand Retail Property Group is also at the centre of a high-rise apartment project in Milford, on Auckland’s North Shore, to which locals have objected.

    While the fate of the Milford apartments rests with Auckland’s debate about intensified housing, Westgate has gained all its approvals and work has begun. But it took seven years, and Barbour is bewildered by that.

    It was not a project anyone objected to and, like a lot of developers, he was forced to refinance when the global financial crisis hit. A speedier consent process would have made a “huge” difference.”

    Seven years to get consent, even though there were no objections.

    The RMA needs immediate overhaul. It clearly doesn’t work.

  2. Eugenie, going by the tone of some of the comments this blog has generated you must have a good arguement.

    Non-sequitur Paul.

  3. The “facts”, Andrew, are that judging by the figures supplied by Amy Adams’ own ministry there is no justification for the proposed changes. If you have any figures yourself please produce them. Amy and the government are relying on very loud anecdotal evidence to support their push toward “economic development” over environmental concerns. They are simply continuing their now well-documented drive toward their goal irrespective of the costs to the environment. Clearly there some very vocal supporters here for such actions.

  4. Eugenie, going by the tone of some of the comments this blog has generated you must have a good arguement. Keep it up. I look forward to making a submission on this one.

  5. “The RMA is the cornerstone of how communities protect the places and spaces that they hold dear”

    Actually property rights are the cornerstone of that. Nothing says you hold space dear more than actually committing yourself to owning it and having full control over it. People look after their own buildings and land far more effectively than that of others or public space.

    However, the RMA does the opposite of that, it erodes private property and leaves it up to the mob to have a say on what you do with your own land. Those who spent not a cent and not a moment of effort or sweat into owning or maintaining property getting a say in somebody else’s property.

    The best way for anyone to protect the environment is to own it, then they can do as they see fit, as long as they do not trespass on the property of others (including liquid or gaseous pollution).

    Extend property rights upwards, extend it to include strata of sight lines if it is inherent to the value of the property, and then leave people alone.

  6. No one is better than National party in being scare??? they told the public NZ will become the next Greece if they don’t sell all most valuable public owned assets, Indeed NZ will certainly soon become next Greece with the speed this govt is selling off our best assets….

    They told the public NZ economy will not make it unless we let them wreck the whole country; the land , the river and even the ocean…and we all know how that will badly affect us and our future generations…
    John Key will retire somewhere else in the world in a few years time if he gets voted out,and he will leave us a totally ruined country, both economically and environmentally. For most of us, we have got nowhere else to go…

    NZ as one of the most popular tourists destinations in the world, not less beautiful than Hawaii, I wonder if Minning, fracking etc are being encouraged there?
    National party led govt their logic is simple; anybody who is in my way to benefit some businesses for their big short term financial gains, you ought to get out of my way!!

  7. Quote: “..increasing the ability of Ministers to interfere and direct councils to changes their regional and district plans. More decisions will be made in the Beehive, instead of in local communities”.

    BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!

    Our housing disaster is a national emergency – or should be respected as such. I myself, if in power, would drive TWO bulldozers over hapless group-thinkers like Len Brown, if need be.

    Maybe unaffordable housing is not a problem for you Eugenie – but for people who don’t earn a politicians wage it is simply devastating.

    WISE UP! Housing MUST be fast-tracked…(and no, changes to the RMA do not need to equate to environment degradation – spare me the political point-scoring. Yawn)

  8. Good.

    It’s high time the government changed the RMA as it is not working. There is too much costly delay because every NIMBY objection is heard, no matter how redundant. All that adds cost, which drives up housing costs and the cost of living.

    The environment still enjoys protection, but the process is made less costly and cumbersome.

    “Do these groups really think that the ability of someone to get a consent faster to build their house, or extend their deck is an assault on the environment? I was appalled to hear yesterday that the horticulture industry has spent $30 million dollars in RMA compliance costs over the past 12 months. That simply cannot continue, and reinforces why the Government’s proposals are badly needed.”

  9. Good on you Greens, finally a fight worth fighting. Pick your battles more wisely like this and you may gain a few extra supporters instead of alienating yourselves.

Comments are closed.