5 July 2012
The proposed changes to the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act (RMA) are a major assault on the Act and on sustainable management, said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage today.
The report released today by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) outlines substantive changes to the principles of the RMA.
“If the Government was concerned about protecting our environment it would strengthen not further weaken the RMA,” said Ms Sage.
“The TAG recommendations are weighted towards facilitating development.
“This Government’s agenda is to weaken the RMA to advance its dig it, drill it, mine it, irrigate it agenda for resource exploitation.
“The proposal to drop the requirement for councils and decision makers to provide for the “preservation” of natural character and the “protection” of outstanding landscapes and significant indigenous vegetation and habitats as matters of national importance ignores Environment Court case law which had built up over the last 20 years.
“Changing these fundamental parts of the RMA will cause unnecessary litigation and tilt the playing field heavily towards development.
“Some of the changes around natural hazards may be sensible however the Minister is using natural hazard issues as a Trojan horse to weaken the Act’s fundamentals around protecting the coast, outstanding landscapes and indigenous biodiversity.
“The Alternate Technical Advisory Group Report prepared by independent technical specialists released in May was a more thoughtful, measured and coherent report. It provides a much more credible basis for changes to the Act,” said Ms Sage.
The Government’s Technical Advisory Group report can be found at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/tag-rma-section6-7/index.html
The Alternative Technical Advisory Group report can be found at: http://www.eds.org.nz/content/documents/pressreleases/EDS%20TAG%20Report%20Document_COL%20FINAL.pdf