National fails to produce evidence justifying attack on RMA

The National Government is misusing evidence provided in the Motu report on planning rules to justify gutting the environmental protections secured by the Resource Management Act (RMA), says the Green Party today.

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds.

“Environment Minister Nick Smith is misusing the evidence in the Motu report to justify stripping the power of communities to protect the quality of their homes and neighbourhoods,” says Green Party RMA spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.

“The Motu report does not balance the costs of planning regulations with the benefits of building houses well. But Governments need to take a more balanced approach to new housing development.

“In no part of the Motu report does it call for the kinds of radical reforms to the RMA that National is proposing.

“Some poor district plan rules are adding unnecessarily to the cost of new housing but these can be addressed without attacking the heart of the RMA.

“National’s real goal here is to undermine hard-fought environmental protections which ensure a high quality of life in our neighbourhoods and communities.

“National’s radical changes to the RMA won’t build a single new, affordable home.

“The last time National deregulated the building industry to drive down costs, we ended up with an expensive legacy of leaky homes.

“Gutting the RMA will lead to ugly, sprawling suburbs, higher levels of traffic congestion, and the loss of the natural environment we love and have fought to protect,” said Ms Genter.

“The Green Party would increase the supply of affordable housing by undertaking a programme of state building, introduce a capital gains tax, and introduce a Progressive Ownership initiative to allow families to 'rent-to-own' government-built houses at an affordable price.”

Link to Motu report: