Green Party to vote against National’s RMA changes

The Green Party will oppose the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, Green Party Environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“National has wasted its opportunity to strengthen the Resource Management Act (RMA). Instead many of the changes proposed to the Act weaken rather than improve the protection of the environment and reduce the opportunities for public participation.

“The RMA is the fundamental law that protects the environment that New Zealanders love. Any changes to the law should provide more protection, not less.

“Though we support parts of the Bill, including the increased recognition of the importance of managing natural hazards, most of the good proposals in the Bill appear to be vastly out-weighed by changes that consolidate power around the Minister, lock out local voices, and weaken environmental safeguards.

“It is particularly concerning to see the Minister granting himself the power to hand-pick the people who will decide who can and cannot mine the oceans around New Zealand – this goes against explicit advice from his officials.

“Treasury officials commented in the departmental disclosure statement that there had been no consultation around some the most significant components of the reform package.

“It’s also disappointing that MPs were given only a few days to examine such a major piece of legislation, stretching to 200 pages, before it is voted on. We have not had enough time to examine all the implications, which is another reason why we feel the only option is to oppose the Bill,” Ms Sage said.

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