Government plans RMA power grab

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, March 9th, 2016 - 29 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Environment, national/act government - Tags: , ,

resource-management-act

The Government is proposing sweeping changes to the Resource Management Act.

They had planned for even more radical change but the support parties refused to commit so the proposal to weaken the goal of environmental protection by merging sections 5 and 6 of the RMA was removed.

The currently proposed changes include one which would give the relevant Minister extraordinary regulation making powers.  If section 360D is enacted he could prohibit a local authority from making specified rules or specified types of rules in a District Plan and override existing rules.  What is currently preserved to Local Councils will become something that the Minister can direct by regulatory fiat.

There is a limitation in that the Minister has to believe that the existing or proposed rules are restricting land use for residential development in a way that is not reasonably required to achieve the purpose of the Act but for Auckland this is not much of a restriction. And he has to engage in consultation with the affected authority but the powers are significant.

The bottom line is that the Minister could make regulations which would affect matters that locally are considered important and the ability of Councils to include in their plans protective measures reflecting the needs and wishes of the local community would be compromised.

The proposal raises a number of questions.  What happens when a Council wants to change the provisions imposed by regulation?  When can these changes reviewed?  And presumably the ability for a local to seek a plan change would no longer exist if the area of concern had been addressed by regulation.

There is a consultation process that the Minister has to set up if he is thinking of using these regulatory powers.  But his discretion is huge.  All he has to be is satisfied that a change is desirable and the threshold is met.

There are also increased powers given to the Government when formulating National Policy Statements.  It is proposed that the powers exercisable under a NPS include the ability to put constraints or limits on the content of policy statements or plans and the power to direct objectives and policies that must be included in regional policy statements and plans which are currently set by councils.

A recent example of the sorts of things that could occur was the Government’s removal of blanket tree protection.  This had to be achieved by statutory change but from now on the Minister could regulate to stop Council making similar rules.

The clause has been described by David Parker as the dictator clause.  He is not wrong.

Another example involves Councils wanting to be GMO free.  As long as the conditions are met this could be prevented.  The Government has already tried with a change inserted at the last minute to use the National Policy Statement procedure to override Councils that want to be GE free.  Either of the proposed changes would make this easier to achieve.

Another area of concern involves proposed changes on the making of submissions to a policy statement or plan, change to or review of a policy statement or plan, a resource consent, review of a resource consent or change of a condition.  The change proposes that submissions be struck out if a Council is of the opinion that the submission is not supported by any evidence, or the evidence is prepared by a person who is not independent or who does not have sufficient specialised knowledge or skill to give expert evidence.

This would preserve the submission making process largely to those who have the funds and resources to pay for professional submissions to be prepared.  Local community groups would find it very hard to have their opinions heard.

If you want to make submissions the Bill is here and details on how to make a submission are here.  The deadline for making submissions is 14 March 2016.

29 comments on “Government plans RMA power grab ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “There is a consultation process that the Minister has to set up if he is thinking of using these regulatory powers. But his discretion is huge. All he has to be is satisfied that a change is desirable and the threshold is met.”

    Why are you assuming the minister is male?

    • vto 1.1

      Maybe the same reason that the current strangulation law change proposal is always referenced as male

    • mickysavage 1.2

      The current minister is a male.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        I doubt there’s a sunset clause on this proposed legislation that ends when the gender of the minister changes.

        • mickysavage 1.2.1.1

          Nick Smith who is the current Minister is a male. I thought about using “he or she” but decided to use “he” to emphasise that Smith is the Minister likely to exercise the power. Care to address the merits of the post?

          • Lanthanide 1.2.1.1.1

            I would have just said “The minster” or “they”.

            I don’t have any other comment on the post. I made the comment I did because that’s the comment I had.

    • Gabby 1.3

      Why are you assuming ‘he’ is male?

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        It is true that the masculine personal pronoun ‘he’ used to be used when talking about abstract people. However that is no longer considered politically correct.

    • Ron 1.4

      Who cares who’s who. Its the changes that are important. This is not a gener issue.

  2. ianmac 2

    Shades of ECan takeover. This Government resents Community Democracy. If not a Democracy I guess you have a Dictatorship.
    Perhaps modelled on Fiji?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      +1

      National hates democracy as it give the people power over their rich mates money making ventures.

  3. Mosa 3

    Looks like these changes are going to directly effect rate payers who don’t have the money for representation
    The winners will be lawyers
    and expensive consultants

  4. greywarshark 4

    Oh fuck what the hell. Can we not set up a straw-woman when there is something really important to consider?? I care about what is going on. Why should the attention go on whether it is a male or a female criminal politician? People here that discuss think and argue never fail to surprise with their anomalies that rise up divisively and fog the point at issue.

    • Jenny Kirk 4.1

      I agree greywarshark – people going off at tangents that are related but not relevant – very irritating.

      Meanwhile clarifying comment from a district council planning officer on new section in RMA clause 360D says –

      ” Subsection (1)(d) gives the Minister power to make regulations to prohibit or override rules that, in the Minister’s opinion, duplicate, overlap with, or deal with the same subject matter as included in other legislation. This is the worrying clause for councils attempting to regulate GMOs. …… My understanding is that the intent of the amendment is also that regulations made under subsection (1)(d) can require existing rules to be withdrawn or amended whether they were in place before the amendment comes into force or not.”

      “This means that the Minister can prohibit councils from putting rules regulating GMOs into their plans or require councils to remove rules regulating GMOs from their plans. Simple as that.”

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      There have only been 3 ‘substantive’ comments outside of mine and the thread it created. I seriously doubt whether my (small) thread would have disrupted any conversation on this article.

      Doesn’t seem like there’s much to talk about for this article – everyone basically agrees.

      • weka 4.2.1

        “Doesn’t seem like there’s much to talk about for this article – everyone basically agrees.”

        I think it’s more likely that there are few comments because there are a lot of big conversations going on on ts in the past 24 hours. 7 posts have done up today, and there are still 2 major conversations happening from yesterday. This post went up first thing this morning and I’ve only just gotten to it because of the other posts I was reading and responding to.

        Sometimes when I am about to be the first comment under a post I walk away for a while if my comment is a sidebar like yours was. Sidebars can set the tone for the whole thread. It’s also about respecting the person who put the time and effort into writing the post.

  5. Gristle 5

    “In the Minister’s opinion” is an exceedingly low test, and one to which no judicial review is possible. Yes it is dictatorial.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    National working to destroy our democracy. Where’s the “Democracy Under Attack” headlines in the MSM?

  7. These are the powers of ministers of the Third Reich. Why do populations always fall for this stuff?

  8. saveNZ 8

    After meddling in Auckland with the SuperCity, Christchurch earthquake recovery, the unity plan fiasco and pretty much every where else and now trying to appoint themselves new powers for RMA….

    You would hope with billions of debt of NZ the government might actually concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing…

    And isn’t what they are doing the opposite of ‘free market’ capitalism when the government steps away from running things because they are considered too incompetent?

    National are running the country like a dictatorship when the government appoints new and extreme powers it itself and it’s cronies to decide overruling current democratic processes…

    Now we have the government giving spies new powers to keep on eye on everyone…. independent from police…

  9. Christine Willis 9

    Yet another law change. They’re coming through thick and fast now. Thank you for the heads up Mick Savage. They’ll be pushing them through before the elections and before TPPA kicks in, in 2018. So NZ will be teed up to match USA Corporation policies.
    Change the government and change the government system – NOW.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
    The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today. $153 million in new funding will be provided over four years to establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
    “The results of the public consultation on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons has now been received, with results indicating over 13,000 submissions were made from members of the public,” Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden says. “We heard feedback about the extended lockdowns in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • The Pacific family of nations – the changing security outlook
    Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, other Members of Parliament Acting Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of Defence Distinguished Guests  Defence and Diplomatic Colleagues  Ladies and Gentlemen,  Good afternoon, tēna koutou, apinun tru    It’s a pleasure to be back in Port Moresby today, and to speak here at the Kumul Leadership ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ and Papua New Guinea to work more closely together
    Health, infrastructure, renewable energy, and stability are among the themes of the current visit to Papua New Guinea by a New Zealand political delegation, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Papua New Guinea carries serious weight in the Pacific, and New Zealand deeply values our relationship with it,” Mr Peters ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Driving ahead with Roads of Regional Significance
    The coalition Government is launching Roads of Regional Significance to sit alongside Roads of National Significance as part of its plan to deliver priority roading projects across the country, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “The Roads of National Significance (RoNS) built by the previous National Government are some of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand congratulates new Solomon Islands government
    A high-level New Zealand political delegation in Honiara today congratulated the new Government of Solomon Islands, led by Jeremiah Manele, on taking office.    “We are privileged to meet the new Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet during his government’s first ten days in office,” Deputy Prime Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand supports UN Palestine resolution
    New Zealand voted in favour of a resolution broadening Palestine’s participation at the United Nations General Assembly overnight, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The resolution enhances the rights of Palestine to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly while stopping short of admitting Palestine as a full ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the 2024 Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Good morning. It’s a great privilege to be here at the 2024 Infrastructure Symposium. I was extremely happy when the Prime Minister asked me to be his Minister for Infrastructure. It is one of the great barriers holding the New Zealand economy back from achieving its potential. Building high ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $571 million for Defence pay and projects
    Defence Minister Judith Collins today announced the upcoming Budget will include new funding of $571 million for Defence Force pay and projects. “Our servicemen and women do New Zealand proud throughout the world and this funding will help ensure we retain their services and expertise as we navigate an increasingly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Climate change – mitigating the risks and costs
    New Zealand’s ability to cope with climate change will be strengthened as part of the Government’s focus to build resilience as we rebuild the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “An enduring and long-term approach is needed to provide New Zealanders and the economy with certainty as the climate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Getting new job seekers on the pathway to work
    Jobseeker beneficiaries who have work obligations must now meet with MSD within two weeks of their benefit starting to determine their next step towards finding a job, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “A key part of the coalition Government’s plan to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Accelerating Social Investment
    A new standalone Social Investment Agency will power-up the social investment approach, driving positive change for our most vulnerable New Zealanders, Social Investment Minister Nicola Willis says.  “Despite the Government currently investing more than $70 billion every year into social services, we are not seeing the outcomes we want for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Getting Back on Track
    Check against delivery Good morning. It is a pleasure to be with you to outline the Coalition Government’s approach to our first Budget. Thank you Mark Skelly, President of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, together with  your Board and team, for hosting me.   I’d like to acknowledge His Worship ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ – European Union ties more critical than ever
    Your Excellency Ambassador Meredith,   Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassadors from European Union Member States,   Ministerial colleagues, Members of Parliament, and other distinguished guests, Thank you everyone for joining us.   Ladies and gentlemen -    In diplomacy, we often speak of ‘close’ and ‘long-standing’ relations.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Therapeutic Products Act to be repealed
    The Therapeutic Products Act (TPA) will be repealed this year so that a better regime can be put in place to provide New Zealanders safe and timely access to medicines, medical devices and health products, Associate Health Minister Casey Costello announced today. “The medicines and products we are talking about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-05-19T04:02:40+00:00