Maori to have bigger say in nobbled RMA reform in exchange for first reading support only

It seems it’s RMA reform when you aren’t really having RMA reform.

But what can we really expect when Nick Smith is the minister running this debacle?

The Government will introduce its long-awaited Resource Management Act reforms to Parliament next week after securing the support of the Maori Party.

The reforms to the country’s main planning document stalled two years ago when National’s support partners refused to back them because of their potential impact on the environment.

That impasse has now been broken, and Government planned to hold the first reading of the legislation next week. The most controversial proposals around environmental protections had been diluted, Environment Minister Nick Smith said.

Dr Smith said today the bill would support business growth and housing development while also ensuring more effective environmental management.

Its main changes would be new national planning templates for councils, faster and more flexible planning processes, reduced requirements for minor consents, and stronger national direction on issues such as housing.

Controversial changes to sections six and seven of the Act, which set out environmental bottom lines, have been “pulled back”.

The only change in these sections would be to the management of risks from natural hazards.

Dr Smith said the Maori Party had agreed to back the legislation to a select committee.

He described it as a “compromise bill” because of the environmental concessions, which had “changed the tone” of sections six and seven.

This is what a broken promise and pandering to a minority look like.

Winston Peters nails it.

Environment Minister Nick Smith, like his leader, claims the government has been frustrated on its RMA changes by opposition parties – that is absolute drivel, says New Zealand First.

“Prime Minister John Key formed the government with like-minded partners and for months did not show the opposition what their ?reforms? were. To support them would have been an act of stupidity by any responsible party,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Now Dr Smith has made an announcement on the policy we will study it and make our views known.

“However, it is blatantly apparent that they are taking a giant step towards separatist government by caving in to the Maori Party, which has minimal support, even in the Maori world.

“It is clear that behind closed doors they are negotiating away fundamental rights that should be the same for all New Zealanders.

“National?s separatist approach will do nothing for Maori, and even less for the country.

“It?s a tragedy how far John Key has taken public policy in that direction in seven years.

“On what Dr Smith has so far announced, the New Zealand First caucus will, for the first time, consider it before making our position clear.”

These reforms are a joke and not at all what John Key promised us.


– Yahoo, ODT