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Labour to repeal RMA changes

Written By: - Date published: 2:10 pm, May 27th, 2013 - 35 comments
Categories: Conservation, labour - Tags: , ,

Good to see a case where Labour is clear about repealing some of National’s damaging law changes:

Labour will repeal damaging RMA provisions

Labour will repeal any provisions of a new Resource Management Act which undermine environmental protections, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Maryan Street.

Speaking at a seminar on the RMA held in Wellington over the weekend, she said Labour would support any amendments to processes which allowed the Act to work more efficiently, but would reverse and repeal any changes made by the current government to the principles and purpose of the Act.

“The National-led government is pursuing an economic development agenda at all costs, including the cost of the environment.

“Theirs is an impoverished view of New Zealand’s future, lacking in vision and imagination.

“There are thousands of jobs to be created out of environmentally sound technologies …

“Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s analysis of proposed changes to the RMA, especially those to part 2 of the Act, is devastating. He notes they would wreck existing case law, and introduce huge uncertainty for all players, the opposite of what the government says it is trying to do. …

“An environmentally healthy New Zealand will be a more prosperous and productive New Zealand,“ Maryan Street said.

More please…

35 comments on “Labour to repeal RMA changes”

  1. Tim 1

    …… and if they were a real alternative to the anti (as opposed to the un) democratic NAct regime, they could get away with repealing just about every piece of legislation (especially that derived under urgency) that has been given the Royal tik of approval over the past 5 years.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Just a quick note, there was a quote from Geoffrey Palmer on the radio this morning about this, saying that what National are doing is terrible, and that there are various changes National could do to improve the legislation overall, without doing trying to do this stuff.

  3. Peter 3

    Yes, it’s an excellent response from Labour, but it took Fish and Game to spend a fair amount of its own cash on the legal opinion (cash which isn’t public money).

    That’s the nature of the times we live in – anglers and hunters have to pay the bill for environmental defence for the public.

  4. Peter 4

    I was also meaning to add, can everyone on this blog who cares about the RMA, please email their thanks to:

    Maryan Street (maryan.street@parliament.govt.nz)
    David Parker (david.parker@parliament.govt.nz)
    David Shearer (david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz)


    • Mary 4.1

      Labour say they’ll repeal Nact’s changes, but their track-record on announcements while in opposition at the moment suggests they won’t repeal them. Labour has to earn our trust before we start thanking them.

      • Peter 4.1.1

        Thank them for the announcement at least, lest they back off for not getting enough email driven metrics, or gods only know what other metrics that their media minders require them to use as a success test of policy these days.

  5. BLiP 5

    Leave it to the Greens. Labour has no idea what it is doing when it comes to the environment. Nice to have their support for this, though.

    • Peter 5.1

      Wrong on all counts. How on earth can a party the size of the Greens repeal RMA changes without Labour’s support?

      • MrSmith 5.1.1

        Not wrong on all accounts Peter, as Geoffrey Palmer said in an interview this morning, the New Zealand environment is now in a worse condition since the introduction of the RMA, under Labour, which had bipartisan support by the way.

        You should have written, ‘The Greens would need Labours support to strengthen the RMA’, because Labour have already show in the past they have no intention of doing so.

        • Peter

          All environments are in worse condition, everywhere there is people and economic growth. NZ not immune. Humans may only have the choices of slow the decline, or speed up the decline. I’ll still choose the slower option.

          • MrSmith

            I understand why you prefer a slow decline, but we shouldn’t settle for that, some will say it’s impossible to reverse the continued degradation of the planet and as long as half the planet still believes in an invisible man in the sky and this continued self-worship maybe it is.

            I just wish we were more honest about the Greedy Parasite the Human being and Human race is, we could easily live on this planet indefinitely, yet we continue to breed and destroy our home with no end in sight, all the while continually swallowing the spider to catch the fly.

  6. Mary 6

    Again, Labour needs to say loudly and clearly that this is yet one more fundamental non-negotiable strand of the fabric of NZ society that the right-wing moneymen want to destroy, therefore, as a result, is yet one more non-negotiable policy that Labour will reverse when they are next in government. Labour needs to begin painting a far clearer picture of what Nact’s doing – not just in relation to each individual attack on the foundations of the various institutions – but of what all of these attacks represent when you add them all up then stand back and have a look at what they mean for the overall – socially, economically and culturally. This government is hellbent on making life so hard and so miserable for the majority of New Zealanders. The opposition parties need to do far more to convey to everyone what’s really going on and exactly where this government really wants to take this country.

  7. Bearded Git 7

    Sir Geoffrey has failed to highlight a key change proposed by National that appeals against Council decisions will no longer be allowed on substantive matters-that is on EFFECTS. Appeals will only be allowed on legal matters. This means where a Council gets its decision wrong on effects no appeal can be made even though this is EFFECTS-BASED-LEGISLATION.

    This is ridiculous, illogical and defeats the purpose of the Act.

    • Peter 7.1

      Not quite.

      There are a number of proposals. One is to remove the “de novo” role of the Environment Court, which allows the issue to be considered on first principle (ignoring all previous decisions). The second is to limit the scope of appeals, so no merit-based appeals.

      There are also proposals to allowed only limited appeals if the thing has been through a collaborative process.

      • Mary 7.1.1

        So does that have the effect of limiting all appeals to the EC to questions of law? If that’s the case then this is even more serious. It will mean that the decision-maker can arrive at any conclusion no matter how unfair and it will be legal. The only way an appeal can be successful is if the conclusion isn’t supported by the Act. There are so many discretions in the RMA that almost all decisions will be lawful – unfair, environmentally disastrous, complete and utter stuff-ups – but lawful.

        • Peter

          No, appeals to the EC are proposed to be limited in some ways, but not only on points of law. That came up originally as an idea, but they won’t do that. The EC doesn’t have experience on points of law anyway really, that’s a High Court issues.

          Aside from that, there’s absolutely no need to limit Environment Court action. That Court does a fantastic job on limited resources and in pretty quick timeframes. considering the complexity of the issues that it deals with. It also has a first-class mediation service, which solves a lot of things outside of hearing. In all honesty, environment issues are best resolved by mediation in most cases.

          • Bearded Git

            Sorry Peter but I have considerable experience of mediation while running an Environmental; Society in Wanaka. It inevitably results in well resourced applicants (usually developers) bringing their expert lawyers or witnesses along and leaning on opposing poorly resourced community groups/members. Court mediators (who are paid to get a result) usually end up siding with the applicants such that a crappy compromise usually results. This usually opens the way for further development later.

            I agree entirely that the Court does a good job on limited resources but I repeat that one of the proposals is to refuse to allow appeals on substantive issues. In Wanaka I am aware taht developers and farmers want the Court out of the system-don’t underestimate National, if they don’t ban substantive appeals they will find a way to make it much harder to appeal, and it is already incredibly hard for community groups/members.

            The option to get rid of the Court’s de novo approach will not work as if the Court is to make a reasonable decision it needs to hear all of the evidence.

            For supposed collaborative process option see mediation above.

            • Peter

              I have fairly extensive experience too, but I haven’t witnessed what you speak about at mediation. Not saying that doesn’t happen of course, I just haven’t seen it.

              They have flagged cutting back Environment Court access, but I’ve heard on the grapevine from Wellington that they’ve backed off this.

              If it does go through in its current form, I am working on some alternatives for the environmental movement to potentially employ. Mind you, they won’t be pretty to some, pretty effective (hopefully) to others.

  8. Rich the other 8

    What load of crap, more spineless stuff from labour.
    They know how the rma in it’s current form has held the country back , but once again crawling to the greens.

    When will they show some balls .

  9. Ad 9

    Totally agree that repealing these changes is positive. Good work Labour.

    But needs complementing with a bold economic development policy that helps in time to convince those such as the west coasters who fear further loss of jobs in Greymouth and Hokitika, or hold-ups to irrigation dams, or bulk commodity exports, to name a few.

  10. freedom 10

    Labour and the Greens needs to consider taking out full page declarations of intent once a month, in every Sunday paper between now and the election. Clear statements, clear policy, every month.

    and of course another full page detailing every lie and corruption of democracy that National have been guilty of wouldn’t hurt either

    • freedom 10.1

      edit function is not working btw

      [lprent: I will try to look at it in the morning. Pretty busy after taking time off to move servers last week. The function is extremely useful, and as flakey and fragile as hell. ]

    • Jimmie 10.2

      Gotta pay for them adds somehow.

      Labour is pretty broke and I don’t think Owen Glenn is feeling all that generous towards them at the moment.

      • freedom 10.2.1

        If they want to show the country they can work together as a Government, then finding a way to split a page each month is a pretty good way to start.

        (Labour did get a pretty generous bequest a while back)

        There are also a lot of very wealthy people within both parties memberships,
        and the MPs themselves do not exactly earn a pittance

        Conventional letterbox drops and various other promotional stuff basically is a waste of resources, not just the financial resources the sheer volume of paper involved is itself reason enough to reconsider how they communicate their policies. There are many details out there about how many hands a newspaper goes through and how often letterbox drop material gets trashed before a second pair of eyes even see them.

        just a thought for the strategists anyway

        • freedom

          At the most base level: (Call it a naive statement if you want)

          In the next twelve months alone, the 48 MPs of Labour and The Green party will receive total remuneration of $ 6,239,200 NZD

          Guess it depends how badly these people want to save New Zealand ?

          • Colonial Viper

            Is there a problem with NZ? Looks like it’s all going pretty well from Bellamys. Usually looks even better from a Ministerial BWM.

            • freedom

              you get it :)

              think of the response to 48 MPs pledging to live on the MODE average salary of roughly 35K for the next year and spending the remaining $4,559,200 of their hard earned dollars on saving Aotearoa. As I said, call it naive, but some battles need sacrifice for the war to be won.

              • Colonial Viper

                As I said, call it naive, but some battles need sacrifice for the war to be won.

                But the sacrifices are for the enlisted men to make, not the Generals, and certainly not the politicians.

    • Peter 10.3

      Yes I support this action, Labour probably don’t have the cash for it right now sadly.

      • freedom 10.3.1

        “Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations,you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.”
        ― Dalai Lama XIV

  11. vto 11


  12. Michael 12

    A good effort from Labour here, although it shouldn’t bother grovelling to the “business community” after this: there’s no way the fatcats will fork out $$$ into Labour’s slush funds. IMHO, Labour should never ask them to, either. I’m not 100% certain Labour will honour this pledge if it enters government next year (perhaps that’s why it made the pledge) but, OTOH, the Greens will probably (?) make environmental protection through a restored RMA a non-negotiable item in coalition talks. Now, what about a few other pledge to repeal odious legislation?

  13. xtasy 13

    This has come swiftly and clearly from Labour, and good on them for taking a clear stand re the RMA changes the Nats and their support parties plan to pass.

    Now, while this is good news for the environment, perhaps, what is Labour’s stand on social security and the recently passed welfare reforms under the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Act then?

    It has been awfully quiet in this area, and apart from expressing concern about hungry school kids in low decile schools needing to be fed, what have Ardern and others to tell beneficiaries, or those facing welfare dependency, for instance also due to health and disability grounds???

    Are Labour going to repeal the changes brought in that will force sickness beneficiaries to be treated as “job seekers”, and to look for work, are they going to repeal the draconian plans for later outsourced work capacity assessments, for the discriminatory treatment of beneficiary parents who will be forced to comply to social obligations, while this does not apply to parents in general?

    What about stopping benefits for those not accepting vaguely described “suitable” work and the harsh sanctions regime that the Nats have brought in???

    And will they sack MSD’s Principal Health Advisor David Bratt for being unsuitable for the job for apparent bias and unscientific, unprofessional conduct?

    I really would like to have clear answers and a clear position from Labour on this! Thank you!

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