Smith’s RMA changes a gift to property developers and lobbyists

Nick Smith’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) are based on anecdote and ideology. They will further weaken laws that help control ugly urban sprawl, and protect freshwater, public conservation land, and the coastal environment, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party opposes Nick Smith’s Resource Legislation Amendment Bill which the Local Government Environment Select Committee is expected to report back to Parliament today.

“Our environmental law should promote liveable cities and towns and help restore New Zealand’s ‘clean green’ reputation. The Bill’s sweeping changes to the RMA and four other laws promote short term thinking and allow profits for private developers to trump sustainability and community wellbeing,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Bill is a charter for property developers with its permissive approach to subdivision. It encourages urban sprawl, ad hoc subdivision and development with little consideration of the impacts on neighbours, streams, beaches, transport and infrastructure provision.

“The Bill gives the Minister sweeping powers to go against the community’s will and impose his decisions on our cities, towns and countryside. The excessive Ministerial powers allow Nick Smith to override councils which have declared their districts to be GE Free.

“The Bill removes or restricts basic rights of public participation. It goes against people’s rights to have a say about development in their neighbourhoods and the precious places they care about.

"There was strong opposition from submitters across the spectrum, from Federated Farmers to Forest and Bird, to the new Ministerial powers, the changes to public notification and the restrictions on access to the courts.

“When Federated Farmers describes the Minister's proposed new powers as ‘excessive’, even National should understand that Nick Smith has gone too far,” Ms Sage said

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