Tag Archives: RMA s6

RMA and Key’s right-wing slashers

BACKWARD STEP: Our environment is at risk if the Resource Management act is watered down.Anton Oliver [stuff.co.nz]

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 21/07/2013
Gutting the RMA – it’s time to be concerned
By Anton Oliver
Source: Sunday Star-Times
OPINION | The Resource Management Act (RMA) has sadly become a much maligned and misunderstood piece of legislation: a kind of universal public punching bag – if mentioned in conversation, it is almost obligatory to put the slipper in. To most Kiwis it represents bureaucracy and inefficiency – pen-pushing do-gooders and paper shufflers who engage us in excessively long and costly processes that get in the way of us Kiwis doing stuff.
In fact the RMA – passed in 1991 – was a means of rectifying mistakes and providing at least some environmental and social integrity to development and planning process. It was recognised by legal minds to be a world-leading piece of legislation. It protected our environment and our economy based on the premise of sustainable resource management. What’s more, it was politically robust in that it received the blessing of both major parties.
It also gave New Zealanders a chance to be heard and it facilitated local decisions made by local people. While the country’s environmental indicators such as water quality and biodiversity loss have still gone backwards – the RMA has stemmed what would otherwise have been fatal haemorrhaging.
Similarly, the RMA has protected a set of fundamental Kiwi values: the notion of fairness and equity in regard to everyone having a right to their say; industry and other activities being required to take responsibility for avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse environmental impacts; and developments being required to have regard to effects on such things as recreation, scenic values, private property rights, and the public’s access to rivers, lakes and beaches.
That’s all about to change.
The Government plans to alter the Act to give greater weight to economic development over environmental considerations, granting to itself the right to veto any issue. You don’t have to be legal-minded to see the impact of subtle word changes. While the consideration for the “benefits” of a project remains, gone are any references to the “costs”, making a cost-benefit analysis redundant because environmental “cost” is out of the equation.
Gone, too, are the words: “maintenance and enhancement of amenity values”. That’s basically any recreational activity – walking, running, swimming, fishing, kayaking. Who likes doing that stuff anyway? Thankfully the “importance and value of historic heritage” stays. But its cobber, “protection from inappropriate subdivision and development” gets the boot – making the first clause meaningless. And my personal favourite, “maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment” has been politely asked to leave. Clearly such an unruly clause has no place in a legal act that’s trying to protect the environment.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, has a different interpretation. She thinks the changes “muddy the overwhelming focus of the RMA, to protect the environment, and risk turning it into an Economic Development Act”. Similarly alarmed, the architect of the RMA, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, concludes: “The [proposed changes] will significantly and seriously weaken the ability of the RMA to protect the natural environment and its recreational enjoyment by all New Zealanders.”

The changes also grant considerable new powers to central government, giving it the ability to take individual consent decisions away from local councils and place them in a new national body. The changes go further still, by allowing government the right to insert provisions in local council plans without any consultation.
Read more

● Former All Black Anton Oliver is an ambassador for Water Conservation Order NZ.

Related Posts and Comments:
21.4.13 *fashionable* Heritage Dunedin and the RMA holocaust
17.3.13 RMA Bill: Public meeting 21 March
6.7.12 Recommended changes to RMA explode environmental protection

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: stuff.co.nz – Anton Oliver

12 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

Recommended changes to RMA explode environmental protection

Technical advisory group’s report recommends significant changes to section 6 of the RMA…the proposal to drop the requirement for decision makers to provide for the preservation and protection of indigenous vegetation and habitats as matters of national importance ignores Environment Court case law built up over the last 20 years.

### ODT Online Thu, 5 Jul 2012
Proposed changes reduce RMA protection
By Adam Bennett – New Zealand Herald
A Government-appointed advisory group has recommended a significant rewrite of the Resource Management Act removing references to the protection of coastal areas, wetlands, lakes and rivers and indigenous flora and fauna. Environment Minister Amy Adams released the report from a technical advisory group established after the Canterbury earthquakes with the primary task of looking at natural hazard issues relevant to the RMA arising from the quakes. “After the Canterbury earthquakes, it became clear that consents for subdivisions had been granted without any consideration of the risk of liquefaction,” Ms Adams said in a statement. However, the group’s report addresses much wider issues and recommends significant changes to section 6 of the RMA.

As it stands [section 6] instructs local authorities to recognise and provide for the protection or preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment, wetlands, lakes and rivers when considering RMA applications. They must also provide for the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes and areas of significant indigenous vegetation or wildlife. Protection must also be provided for historic heritage and protected customary rights while public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes and rivers must be maintained. However the group’s recommendation proposes removing the words “protection” and “preservation” from the section entirely.
Read more

****

### radionz.co.nz Friday 6 July 2012
Morning Report with Geoff Robinson & Simon Mercep
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport

08:13 Independent report a major assault on the RMA – Opposition
Opposition parties say recommended changes to the Resource Management Act by independent advisory group are a major assault on the sustainable management of the environment. (3′57″)
Audio | Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

More reading via Scoop
Greens – Report ‘Major Assault On The RMA’
NZ Govt – Report on Resource Management Act principles released
Labour – RMA changes risk more litigation
ACT – RMA Principles Report Encouraging But More Boldness Required
Maori Party – Māori Party comfortable with direction of RMA report
Fish and Game NZ – RMA rejig a disaster for the environment

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

5 Comments

Filed under #eqnz, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design