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The changes recommended by the Government’s Technical Advisory Group to the Resource Management Act (RMA) run the risk of undermining the premise of the act and increasing litigation, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“The advisory group appear to have provided a solution in search of a problem. They have created a significantly larger list of matters that must be recognised and provided for under the RMA.
“These are a mix of the current matters in section six and seven of the Act and in addition to other matters such as the importance of infrastructure. The advisory group has collapsed these into a single list that mixes up biophysical and other matters in such a way that it will cause confusion for decision makers.
“Mixing these issues will lead to further challenges to decisions and further litigation,” Grant Robertson said.
“The group has proposed deleting the words ‘preservation’ and ‘protection’ from section six of the Act. This fundamentally changes the presumption for decision making and undermines the meaning of sustainable management,” Grant Robertson said.
“The report makes a number of recommendations around the recognition of natural hazards in the RMA. These will be worth considering in the context of the recent Canterbury earthquakes. However, they will most likely be lost within the overall changes proposed by the group.
“These changes fundamentally undermine the premise of environmental protection provided by the RMA,” Grant Robertson said.