Sir Geoffrey Palmer is having a sook that the RMA system he championed is being overhauled.
The only area in which Palmer won praise from traditional left-wing supporters was in his handling of the Environment portfolio, which he kept when he became Prime Minister – it was his work here in initiating the resource management law reform process that eventually led to the creation of the Resource Management Act.
The highly political Fish and Game has paid Palmer to analyse the Government’s RMA proposals – and shock horror, Palmer is critical.
Fish and Game should front up and tell all the hard-working fishermen how much of their fishing licence money they put in Palmer’s back pocket.
But it’s no surprise Palmer’s “independent analysis” is critical. Fish and Game wouldn’t have paid someone to analyse the RMA without knowing that the results would suit its agenda.
But what journalists have failed to grasp, is the reason the RMA is being overhauled is because of Palmer’s incompetence in the first place.
The RMA was originally designed to act as planning legislation – where houses and businesses could be built, whether you could build a deck or add a second story to your house etc – but due to Palmer’s incompetence it has turned into something that has halted economic growth.
The RMA as it currently stands puts so much weight on the environment that anyone considering building a house or starting a business is scared off.
Statistics NZ recently released a survey that showed projects worth more than $800 million had been cancelled in the last two years. Is the New Zealand economy is such a good state that we can afford for that to happen?
Surely a better balance between the environment and the economy can be found.
In fact, if journalists actually read what Palmer has written, they will see despite the hyperbole, he admits in his “analysis” that the Government’s proposals are a good idea.
“Many of the proposals will deliver improvements to the current processes under the RMA with limited impacts on environmental protection.
The Environment Defence Society, still bitter than the Environment Ministry cancelled its taxpayer funding to criticise Government policy, accidentally lands a killer blow to Palmer’s criticisms:
“Sir Geoffrey, as former Environment Minister, is the father of the RMA,” said Mr Taylor.
Palmer is the father of screw-ups. If he had done his job right in the first place, the Government wouldn’t have to repair the damage.
Palmer should stop trying to mislead the public and admit he got it wrong when he helped develop the RMA.