RMA reforms will be as popular as a pork chop at a mosque

Policy Parrot says:

On Saturday morning this Parrot was not in a good mood. The National conference was on where John Key and Amy Adams announced amendments to the RMA.

The reforms are a substantial let down in the same way it would be a let down to propose a large children’s party with fire works, dwarves dressed as elves, Santa and liquor for the parents only to provide a sausage sizzle and cordial.

What the RMA needed was a substantial set of modifications. Certain definitions required specifying to clean up the proliferation of District Plans that have muddied and complicated the way land management is supposed to be carried out by local authorities.

Case law has over the 20 odd year time frame of the RMA set some interesting interpretations on law. And local authorities have taken their own interpretations as to functions to mean whatever they can dream up at the Council canteen. The result is that we have perversely complicated district plans across this nation that are at times unlawful and in most cases outlandishly complicated. Discretion in favour of Councils over anything and everything is littered through out planning documents and provides angst and difficulty for any consenting process.  

What is worse is that everything – most everything – needs a Resource Consent.

How did all of this happen?

The answer is that local authorities have taken their functions and role too far. They have been permitted (through a lack of policing) to change the RMA by writing district plans that are too controlling and completely at odds with the purpose and intent of the RMA. Over time these plans become the accepted norms. The RMA has not provided any checks and balances or any way in which district plans can be vetted. No specificity has directed Councils and so they have done their mapped the course and path for themselves knowing they will never be challenged.

The results are devastating. Development is impeded and penalised by complicated plans that do nothing to protect communities from unintended consequences. Pitched that District Plans can and will ensure the best quality outcomes we can see that for the most part these documents are impotent.

So if Councils have failed to control and ensure outcomes its fair to say they can’t control the outcomes.

In the meantime developers and ordinary folk are hammered by ridiculous consent requests and crazy processing time frames (this Parrot knows of consents at Auckland taking months if not years to process).

The Government was the recipient of a substantial number of industry submissions on it’s RMA reforms. For the most part these were coordinated between lobby groups and where not coordinated were not least notable for their consistent request to the Government for changes that mirrored that of the large lobby groups.

Last Saturday’s revealed amendments was a let down of gargantuan proportions. The property industry is going to be very unhappy campers this week.

The National Government promised substantial overhaul and delivers us tweaks to help people with retaining walls and minor amendments.

Sorry Amy and John – this Parrot supports you wildly – but you can’t honestly believe that the ordinary folk are the ones losing millions during consent processes?

What about the myriad of  changes recommended to you by the property industry?

It is a sad day for this parrot. Blue feathers will be plucked in favour of bare skin. The RMA reforms are an abject failure and Amy should move aside to allow someone with some balls like Nick who would have listened and done something meaningful.


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  • Ducky

    Apparantly, there must be no pork selling butcher shop allowed near any mosque. it is not halal.

    • This is why using “Petal’s Rule of Bacon” is so useful. It goes like this: Anyone who doesn’t think bacon is just about handed down from above isn’t worth the oxygen they breathe.

      – Vegans, Vegetarians, Muslims

      Go on, find a flaw with it. It cuts right to the heart of the matter, and quickly divides those that are worthy from those that are not.


  • Terry

    I think you’ll find the reforms were more than tweaks and minor amendments. I found this document useful. It seems to have a lot more detail about the reforms – http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/resource-management-summary-reform-proposals.html

  • Cadwallader

    I think the amendments are great but see the Local Government Act 2002 needs to be essentially repealed. It is the greater evil of the 2 statutes.

  • philbest

    Glad the Parrot thinks the same as I do about these “reforms”. Wimpy, wimpy.

    This bit especially:

    “….Require Councils to provide a minimum of 10 years of urban land supply to cope with projected population growth….”

    This is such absolute incompetence it is not funny. It is common knowledge among urban economics specialists, that when Portland established its “20 year growth boundary”, the prices of land and of course housing started to inflate just 4 years later.

    It is not rocket science to work out that “20 years supply” of land on a planners map is nothing LIKE the amount of land that the current owners are happily using for other purposes, that would have been sold anyway within the next 20 years. Add the reality that most developments take several years, and most
    developers like to secure their next site before they finish the
    previous job. Within a very short period of time, the land owners are getting
    door-knocked by developers, and what does anyone think this does to
    their expectations for prices?

    The government has been told all this repeatedly, so they are obviously not serious about bringing prices down and are still in the pockets of John Keys FIRE sector fat cat mates. But meanwhile they can cynically gain the votes of the people they are stabbing in the back, who will never have it explained to them that the “reforms” were already known to be ineffective before they were even enacted.