South Wairarapa deputy mayor Garrick Emms. PHOTO/FILE

MARCUS ANSELM
marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

South Wairarapa deputy mayor Garrick Emms will continue to call for changes to the Resource Management Act.

Emms was elected to council in October. He was confirmed as deputy to new mayor Alex Beijen later that month.

The election fell during a long-running campaign led by Emms to review an application for upgrades to the Featherston wastewater treatment plant.

The RMA is a 2001 law which enforces oversight of building and the management of natural and physical resources.

Environment Minister David Parker has begun a review of the process. An amendment bill to the act is set to go before Parliament.

Emms and Marguerite Tait-Jamieson, his wife, own the Longwood Estate in Featherston, close to the proposed plant upgrades.

The couple made a public submission in favour of changing the act, which was published last week.

They expect to be called to the first hearing on Thursday.

“Regrettably it is not until an individual has had personal experience of the RMA process that the obvious short comings of the act became so apparent,” their submission said.

“Unfortunately, we are now in that position and that is the motivation for us to lodge a submission seeking to amend the existing act.

“We are not making a criticism of the SWDC or the process they have been required to follow under the act.

“We are looking for amendments to the existing RMA that will save our local authority from treating future submitters in such a cavalier fashion.”

Emms said his experience campaigning led to his submission to the review panel.

“We believe at lot of this is driven by the RMA. We wouldn’t have this situation where we can’t consult or engage. And that’s why I’ve submitted the amendment to the act, because the act needs changing.”

Oral submissions on the amendment bill will be heard at Parliament on Thursday of this week and the following Thursday.