RMA tin­ker­ing won’t help

Coastal News - - New - By SCOTT SIMP­SON MP for Coro­man­del

he Gov­ern­ment is go­ing to have yet an­other fid­dle with the Re­source Man­age­ment Act.

much ev­ery­one who has ever sought a re­source con­sent has a tale of red-tape woes to tell and they’ll be won­der­ing why even more tin­ker­ing is be­ing done and why the Gov­ern­ment wants to make it worse.

Un­for­tu­nately that’s pre­cisely what is be­ing pro­posed by turn­ing the Re­source Man­age­ment Act into a ve­hi­cle for tack­ling cli­mate change.

MMP pol­i­tics and sim­ple numbers in the House pre­vented Na­tional mak­ing the sweep­ing changes we wanted dur­ing the last Par­lia­ment.

In­creas­ingly there are calls for less tin­ker­ing and a more sen­si­ble ap­proach to plan­ning and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as In­fra­struc­ture New Zealand, the Em­ploy­ers and Man­u­fac­tures As­so­ci­a­tion and the En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fence So­ci­ety are say­ing that the RMA isn’t work­ing as it should. Most im­por­tantly, they are say­ing the RMA doesn’t do the job it’s meant to for our built en­vi­ron­ment or our pre­cious nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. We’ve al­ready com­mit­ted that the next Na­tional-led Gov­ern­ment will stop the tin­ker­ing and, given the man­date, we will fix it once and for all. In the mean­time, it would be good if we could reach some con­sen­sus with the Labour-led Gov­ern­ment to im­prove this com­pli­cated leg­is­la­tion so peo­ple can build busi­nesses and houses more eas­ily and with­out huge costs caused by bu­reau­cracy while at the same time en­sur­ing the prac­ti­cal pro­tec­tions we all want for our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment are main­tained.

The man­groves bill

“Be care­ful what you wish for” was one of my late mother’s favourite say­ings.

I didn’t ever think it might ap­ply to man­groves leg­is­la­tion for our re­gion.

The se­lect com­mit­tee’s re­port on the bill that the Thames-coro­man­del and Hau­raki dis­trict coun­cils asked me as lo­cal MP to spon­sor on their be­half has been pre­sented back to Par­lia­ment.

The bill as orig­i­nally in­tro­duced would have taken man­grove man­age­ment away from Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil and out of the ju­ris­dic­tion of the RMA, and in­stead given power to the two coun­cils to cre­ate their own man­grove man­age­ment plans un­der the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act.

That orig­i­nal bill was pretty sim­ple in its ob­jec­tives and wide sweep­ing in terms of the pow­ers it would have given to our two lo­cal dis­trict coun­cils. The se­lect com­mit­tee re­ceived more than 160 sub­mis­sions on the bill, many of which were ei­ther strongly in favour or strongly op­posed.

Long story short . . . the se­lect com­mit­tee has re­ported back and has rec­om­mended that the bill pro­ceed but with a num­ber of very sig­nif­i­cant changes. There are too many sug­gested changes for me to de­tail here but suf­fice to say, “be care­ful what you wish for” be­cause on the face of it, the sug­gested changes have in my view, the po­ten­tial to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion no more use­ful in terms of manag­ing man­groves than the ex­ist­ing sit­u­a­tion ad­min­is­tered by the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

So there needs to be a care­ful anal­y­sis of the pro­posed changes by the coun­cils and their le­gal ad­vis­ers. I want to con­sult with them as well lo­cal stake­hold­ers be­fore de­cid­ing on whether or not to sup­port the bill fur­ther.

It will be the New Year be­fore the bill is de­bated again in Par­lia­ment so we have a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to do that con­sul­ta­tion and de­ci­sion mak­ing.

Lit­ter Free New Zealand

Too of­ten as I travel around our beau­ti­ful elec­torate I no­tice the in­creas­ing amount of lit­ter that is scat­tered on our beaches, through our bush and along our road­sides.

So I’m thrilled the en­vi­ron­ment se­lect com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended that my Lit­ter (In­creased In­fringe­ment Fee) Amend­ment Bill be passed. It will give lo­cal gov­ern­ments the power to in­crease the max­i­mum fine for lit­ter­ing from $400 as it is now to $1000.

I know that this change of it­self won’t be a sil­ver bul­let in solv­ing our lit­ter prob­lems but it will be a step in the right di­rec­tion and will send a mes­sage to those that do lit­ter.

Pro­posed changes to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of man­grove man­age­ment need to be con­sid­ered care­fully by the Thamescoro­man­del and Hau­raki dis­trict coun­cils, Coro­man­del MP Scott Simp­son says.

Scott Simp­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.