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Groups link up to oppose RMA plan

Federated Farmers and the Taxpayers’ Union are in Masterton tomorrow night as part of a roadshow to oppose the government’s proposed reform of the Resource Management Act [RMA].

The RMA is set to be replaced by three Acts: the Natural and Built Environments Act, the Strategic Planning Act, and the Climate Change Adaptation Act.

The Natural and Built Environment and the Spatial Planning Bills were introduced to Parliament on November 15, 2022. The Climate Adaptation Bill is expected to follow later this year.

Federated Farmers and the Taxpayers’ Union said although “we all” want to see a reform of the RMA, it needs to be “done right to address the issues of cost and complexity that farmers face every time they want to do something productive with their land”.

The organisations said the current legislation just “ties farmers up in red tape”, slows them down, and adds “unnecessary” costs, and claimed that the government’s proposed reforms would only make the situation worse.

Ministry for the Environment [MftE] said the current resource management legislation was introduced in 1991 and that “more than 30 years later, there’s widespread agreement that it’s not achieving what it set out to do”.

Among other things, the environment has not been receiving adequate protection through the Act: “Ecosystems are degraded, our waterways are in major decline, and biodiversity is diminishing.

“At the same time, urban development hasn’t kept up with population growth. Complex and lengthy RMA processes have held up the development of housing and major infrastructure.”

MftE said the lack of a “deliberate, strategic, and considered approach” to resource allocation has led to the inefficient and inequitable allocation of resources, including water.

Additionally, the ministry said the cumulative environmental effects of multiple consents have not been addressed by the Act.

“The resource management system needs to be better aligned with work to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

MftE added that the Act has not adequately recognised the interests of hapū, iwi, and Māori.

The Masterton stop of the roadshow will be held at Lansdowne House at 6pm on Thursday night.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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