Government went too far for RMA reforms to proceed

Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says the government’s failure to get support for its major reforms of the Resource Management Act are a signal those reforms went too far.

Prime Minister John Key announced this afternoon that the government will have to pursue its rewriting of the act in a third term, if it gets re-elected, because it cannot get the support it needs from its coalition partners to change the law.

“The Resource Management Act is more than just a piece of legislation; it’s about all the things that make this country such a great place to live,” says Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“Given the government can’t get the numbers it needs, it should give up and leave the fundamentals of the law alone.

“Let’s now have a sensible, evidence-based conversation about better planning. The sensible parts of the package could have proceeded with all parties’ support, if Environment Minister Amy Adams had not overreached with her proposed reforms of the principles of the act - sections 6 and 7,” Kevin Hackwell says.

The principles in sections 6 and 7 affect all decision-making and planning by prioritising matters of national importance, including the maintenance and enhancement of environmental quality, public access to waterways, and the protection of outstanding landscapes.

“These are things New Zealanders care about, and yet the government was prepared to undermine them to allow unsustainable development,” Kevin Hackwell says.