RMA reform will be an uphill battle

Apart from ACT, all political parties have expressed that they are against Nick Smith’s RMA review

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it will do nothing for house prices in Auckland.

Local authorities wanted a law that was simple and less complex to manage and one that provided better outcomes for communities and economy, Local Govt New Zealand (LGNZ) president Lawrence Yule said today.

LGNZ represents the authorities whose role is to implement the Resource Management Act.

Mr Yule, who is also the Mayor of Hastings, said there was too much process prescribed by the current planning law.

“We need an act that creates more affordable housing, builds jobs and creates business and economic growth, within an environment of managing our natural resources.”

Environment Minister Nick Smith set out 10 areas of reform that will change the way councils carry out planning law.

So, to summarise:

The Green Party have gone all sulky with Genter saying there is absolutely no point working with National on RMA reform as they won’t be listened to.

The Maori party are against it, as they see Maori natural heritage under threat.

NZ First don’t like it because it doesn’t attack real problems, like immigration pressure on house prices and other RMA managed resources.

Peter Dunne’s against it, and I got too bored to understand why, but he’s not on the team.

And Andrew Little has done exactly as I predicted:  he says reform is just a ‘smoke screen’ (I used Trojan Horse) for the government to slide in the legalised rape an pillage of natural resources, all the while selling it as something that will make houses cheaper.

The set-up for the 3rd term is that National have become arrogant.  They are now between a rock and a hard place.  Go it alone and push it through with the help of ACT, or pretend to work together and get bogged down by parties that only have one objective:  sabotage.

One way or another, it’s a potential disaster for National, with very little scope for a win.  The real challenge will lie in getting the public on board to the point where all the other parties end up marginalised.  Failing that, the only other solution is to recognise RMA reform for the tar pit that it is, and if it doesn’t go anywhere after the first 12-18 months, to quietly put it into the too-hard basket and let it die a natural death.

Of course, leaders lead.  And in the case of RMA, National should do what it believes it thinks is best for the country, even if it does not have the support of the majority of parties and perhaps the country at large.  Farrar will be busy taking the nation’s temperature to see if this is an election issue or just a hot media potato.  If the country is against it, but it doesn’t affect votes, expect an ‘arrogant’ National to push ahead.


– Audrey Young, NZ Herald


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  • Jimmie

    Not really a problem WO. The same tired players pushed that line last year and got spanked in the election.

    With petrol prices heading down, employment up, a growing economy, the public will back JK with this no sweat.

    They just need to point out the benefits publicly and not get side tracked – should be fine.

    • Hedgehog

      Yeah, I agree Jimmie. But I can’t help being a little frustrated as well. We have just short of half our elected representatives not wanting to help New Zealand get ahead. They’d rather we remain a 3rd world economy and the more of welfare the better. Just doesn’t make sense. They must realise that eventually we are going to run out of people to pay the bills. And without the RMA reform progress will continue to get harder and there will be less money they can fleece for the poor.

      • OneTrack

        No wonder the lefties wanted MMP. 60 of them get to stay in the trough, even if their parties don’t win. High five.

  • Cadwallader

    The RMA and the LGA 2002 contain powers and procedures that make troughers drool. There is a vile, expensive and pointless industry based on these statutes. The Council fuhrers, the consultants, the lawyers, the traffic engineers, the light engineers, the audio engineers, the neighbourhood busy-bodies etc won’t give up this financial orgy without a scrap. If any measure proposed by the government is less than complete repeal the beast will survive.

    • Warren Murray

      I’ve voted up on your comment, but your comments are unfair to local government. Yule sounds like an unexpected supporter for reform. He wants to simplify it, as the Act, itself, puts local councils in a difficult position.

      • Cadwallader

        Have a look at the LGA 2002 and the entitlements it allows to Councils. Once Mr Yule and a number of his cohorts desist from that profiteering his voice will be that much more impressive.

  • Builder

    Do it quickly and keep it simple. The majority of voters that want to keep it as is are not voting national anyway.

  • JJ

    It would have been better if they had really done what Little says they’re doing – built a Trogan Horse.

    The problem with the politics now is Nick Smith has loaded it up with 101 agendas that will cause noise with the signal hard to discern.

    It would have been better to identify (say) 3 things (housing affordability being one), and carried the rest through in the detail.

  • andrew carrot

    I think you’ll find that it will be very difficult for the opposition parties, including the Maori Party and Mr 1940s, Peter Dunne, to make an election issue out of the RMA because few voters have got their heads around this large and complicated piece of legislation. I will be very surprised if the opposition parties value the RMA above the three “E”s: employment, economy and education, which provide easy campaign pickings.

  • Addedup

    Whatever happened to doing the right thing for the country. Farrar should poll on what voters think about local government and National should read the results and kick the living crap out of them and drive through changes.
    We develop as a business but have given up on anything that needs a resource consent because it’s just too hard and we have contacts in local government. If National can muster a decent PR campaign they should kick the Maori ticket clippers and the keep my house values up Dunne party to touch and make changes that enable affordable houses to be built. Brown isn’t interested because static house values won’t get him re elected but getting peasants off the road and onto trains will as the McMansions go up in value every year will.
    Come on Bill and John do the right thing to the country with the least density on earth and increase supply and simplify.

    • Disinfectant

      Me too “added up”. I gave up on anything requiring a Resource Consent in 2002.
      Every time I mention a new business requiring a Resource Consent, my other half threatens to never talk to me again. And she means it having seen my capital decimated over a long period of time.
      And why doesn’t Mr Yule (LGNZ) simply tear up his councils District Plan and put in place a simple one of just a few pages. There is nothing stopping his council from doing this.

      • Addedup

        The thing is that elected representatives don’t want more supply because that will keep prices in check. Local government get re elected when house prices go up because they can disguise rate increases. If we have flat inflation there is no room to hide anything, good luck Nick Smith because no active voter/homeowner is going to vote for flat or falling house prices…101 of getting re elected to local government and watch Laurence Yule protecting this racket.

  • Warren Murray

    Good analysis. One other opponent to reform is the Government. I don’t mean National, as I think Nick Smith will give it his best shot. Opposition will come from government departments, such as the Ministry for the Environment.

  • BR

    I can’t understand why the taxpaying public would be against reforming the RMA , or indeed abolishing it altogether. Who the hell benefits from it apart from government troughers and enviro-zealots?


    • Effluent

      Anyone who doesn’t want a developer to build a 6 storey stained concrete brutalist eyesore over their back fence.

      • Cadwallader

        No. The tort of private nuisance caters for that eventuality. The statute based planning laws create a bureaucracy of persons who administer their roles haphazardly and capriciously.

        • Effluent

          I think that is rather naive, and don’t rate a private individual’s chances of success very highly, against an unscrupulous developer, who stands to profit enormously by dropping these eyesores into suburbia.It would be too much of a gamble to fight such a case, with the onus of proof on the objector.
          Just look at what they have already got away with recently, even with the RMA still in place.

      • BR

        That sort of thing did not happen before the RMA. There was no need for it. It benefits no one except the big government bureaucrats.


  • Nebman

    I can save Farrah some time and effort – the bulk of Nat voters loathe the RMA in it’s current format and will welcome it being revamped although they’d prefer if it were thrown out altogether and a vastly trimmed and slimmed down version replace it.

    The left will oppose it simply because it’s something the Nats want to do and they are hard wired to oppose in their current state.

    If the Nats can do to the RMA what needs to be done they need to find a way to deal with recalcitrant councils that are hell bent on having things the way they want. I,e Auckland trying to build up instead of out.

    Seems they might be better sorting Auckland out first maybe? That strikes me as the place they can make the most gains in short order.

    • Disinfectant

      Don’t just think it is Auckland.
      If you go and live somewhere else, I can assure you it is much the same everywhere. And why should those outside Auckland be allowed to suffer any longer than those in Auckland.

  • Disinfectant

    I have always advocated for a deposit to accompany an objectors submission on a Resource Consent application.
    The Court has always ruled that the Resource Consent applicant is the beneficiary of any consent when it is granted.
    But the objector is the beneficiary when the consent is declined.
    And yes there are those who will argue that the applicant for a Resource Consent is the party forcing another party to consider the applicants proposal, and that this involves his/her inconvenience.
    However an objectors deposit will be safe if their objection is genuine, and neither frivolous, antagonistic or commercial in nature.