RMA bill passed last night. No national MPs crossed the floor

Parliament has passed the controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to the Resource Management Act.

The government relied on the Maori Party for a bare majority on the legislation, and it passed its third reading on Thursday by 61 votes to 60.

The RMA Amendment Bill is mainly designed to make it easier to free up land for housing and allows ministerial override, in some circumstances, of council planning decisions.

The government’s usual allies, ACT and United Future, oppose it and the government struck a deal with the Maori Party by offering enhanced iwi participation in the decision-making process.

Enhanced iwi participation.

This wouldn’t have happened under John Key.  There was a clear un-ease around Cabinet about selling the silverware to the Maoris, but Bill English was more concerned about being seen to be indecisive if he shelved it for the time being.

Most MPs and the public at large would like to have seen the RMA reform delayed until after the election.   Mr English’s confidence that he might actually get to do that and get a better result than giving Maori lots of power appears to have been quite low.

In the mean time, this stacks up yet another clear betrayal of traditional National voter support.  A number of internal polls are showing National will get a 39-42% result at the general election.

It will be interesting to see if Bill English’s decision to push these compromised RMA reforms through drags that further down still.

 

– NZN via Yahoo! News


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