The Government’s attacks on the Resource Management Act (RMA) will encourage environmental vandals, the Green Party said today.
“National’s repeated attacks on the RMA are creating a culture in which it is OK to destroy rivers and the environment,” said Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman following news from Southland of three separate incidents labelled vandalism by the regional council
“By attacking laws that protect the environment, the Government is creating a situation where industrial agriculturalists and others are more likely to say ‘stuff the law and the environment’ and to destroy our natural heritage so they can make a buck,” said Dr Norman.
The cases reported by the Southland Regional Council include;
- an illegal dam built at a dairy farm operating without consent;
- a stream ‘straightened’ on a Mataura farm to make ploughing easier;
- and a wetland drained without permission in Otautau.
“The Regional Council has taken the unusual step of only warning contractors and farmers not to ignore the RMA rather than prosecuting,” noted Dr Norman. “It shows the problems that regional councils face every day in protecting the environment from those who want to profit by destroying our future.
“National is making the councils’ job harder by supporting an atmosphere of ‘who cares about the RMA’ and our environment is suffering.
“Many farmers care for the land but without a strong RMA they will be undermined by those who cheat. We need a strong RMA to level the playing field and protect farmers who do the right thing. The Government should strengthen not undermine the RMA.”