Don Brash and Winston Peters have joined forces, unofficially, opposing Maori preferential treatment in the RMA reforms.
Brash, best known for his controversial Orewa speech in 2004 arguing against special status for Maori, told the committee that the National Party had always accepted fundamental reforms to the RMA were needed.
“If I was asked what single measure the Government could take to raise living standards in New Zealand, I would without hesitation answer, ‘Reform the RMA’.”
However, the proposed legislation was “pitifully limited” and would do little to resolve the existing problems, Brash said.
“By widespread consent, these reforms barely scratch the surface of what is needed.”
In addition, the “extremely modest” changes had been “bought at the cost of greatly extending the rights of those with a Maori ancestor to have a preferential involvement in the decision-making process”.
The proposed legislation would vastly extend the preferential treatment already offered to Maori in the RMA process through the iwi agreements, Brash said.
“This is surely a recipe for further delay, for corruption, and for anger on behalf of the rest of the community…
“It is incomprehensible to me how a National Party-led government could propose a bill which violates the very principle of democratic governance.”