Ministerial power grab too excessive in RMA reforms

Ministers are given too much power in the Government's newly released discussion document on stage two of its Resource Management Act reforms, says Labour's Environment Spokesperson, Maryan Street.

“The paper goes too far in its critique of the RMA, especially when it gives more power to Ministers to intervene directly in local plan-making processes and at the same time, proposes to reduce the role of the Environment Court significantly..

“That combination of measures allows Ministers to ride roughshod over the environmental priorities of local and regional communities. We need to maintain the independent oversight of the Environment Court which is informed and driven by a piece of legislation designed to protect our environment, not to promote urban sprawl or sacrifice the environment to developers.

“The Discussion Document does not take account of the need to improve our environment. We all know that our waterways are a disgrace and we cannot lay claim to being 100% pure in many parts of the country. It asserts, mistakenly, that the Act stifles economic development and tries to stack the process in favour of development interests over the environment.

"While there may be improvements which can be made to parts of the RMA, this Discussion Document has gone too far," said Maryan Street.