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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.