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RMA needs top-to-tail overhaul, not more band-aids

RMA

Federated Farmers is on board with the chorus of voices across diverse sector groups saying the Resource Management Act is broken and no longer fit for purpose.

“What started off as a relatively simple, one-stop-shop piece of legislation formed 30 years ago to promote sustainable development and environmental protection has been chewed over so much it is no longer recognisable,” Feds resource management spokesperson Karen Williams says.

“The RMA has become unwieldy and cripplingly expensive. It creates huge hurdles for development and economic wellbeing, and struggles to provide the environmental outcomes everyone wants, including addressing cumulative effects.”

Federated Farmers supported, and participated in, the full review of the RMA commissioned by the government last November (2019). The review panel, led by Tony Randerson QC, was excellent to engage with, Karen says.

“We are a little mystified why the government is pushing ahead as we speak with changes to the RMA when they’ve admitted a fundamental overhaul of the legislation is overdue.”

Federated Farmers’ preference is for resource management legislation to remain within one statute, and more importantly that it sticks with its core ‘effects based’ principles.

“We must retain the existing requirement to balance economic, cultural, social and environmental outcomes so that the legislation can deliver what Kiwis need going forward in a very different world.”

Water storage, and positive on the ground work such as restoration and enhancement of wetlands, are just two examples of environmental win/wins that are being impeded by the RMA as currently written and implemented, Karen says.

“Federated Farmers will work through the details of the review panel’s report and we look forward to working alongside the government to find a better way to provide for the sustainable development of the nation’s resources for the betterment of all New Zealanders.

“We certainly hope that the process of developing a new RMA framework is inclusive and enables parties to engage in robust and fair discussion.”

Source: Federated Farmers

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