RMA reform must ensure a healthy environment and community wellbeing

The Green Party welcomes the release of the first draft of part of new legislation to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), and urges the Labour Government to take this once in a generation opportunity to be ambitious in its reform.

“This means not allowing activities that push hard against or overstep nature’s limits or cause significant climate pollution, when considering development activities. The reformed system must honour and implement Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Green Party will be interested in submissions as to whether the new provisions do this adequately,” says Eugenie Sage, Green Party environment spokesperson

“The resource management system in Aotearoa has fallen out of step with our rapid population growth and the scale of the challenges we face. The planning process is too cumbersome, and it has failed to properly protect environmental and human health, in terms of declining water quality and indigenous biodiversity for example. This reform is an important opportunity to fix the system.

“Nature and our climate are both in crisis; with extensive habitat destruction, 4000 species threatened or at risk of extinction, and the urgent need to substantially reduce our greenhouse emissions.

“We also have a housing crisis – too many New Zealanders are without a warm, dry, secure, and accessible home. It’s important Parliament hears from across Aotearoa New Zealand as to how the purpose, principles and framework of a new resource management system can best tackle these crises. The changes impact everyone.

“The new legislation and how it functions need to avoid the trap of so-called ‘balancing’ or making trade-offs between the environment and the economy. It will take ambitious action to enable Te Oranga o te Taiao to be upheld and properly implemented.

“No part of nature or the built environment functions in isolation so environmental limits must be comprehensive and integrated across domains.

“This reform has fundamental implications for iwi Māori. The exposure draft has stronger recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi than the current law. We urge the Government to continue to seek full consultation with iwi, hapū, and whānau across Aotearoa New Zealand through the reform process to recognise the mana Māori hold as kaitiaki.

ENDS

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