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Labour and the RMA

Written By: - Date published: 3:55 pm, September 10th, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: Environment, labour - Tags: , ,

No Right Turn and Frogblog both have pieces up on Labour’s decision to vote in support of the Government’s moves to gut the RMA last night. It’s disappointing to say the least.

I’d be interested to hear from some Labour MPs why they voted this way, either in the comments section of this post or over at Red Alert. If there’s a good reason I’d like to hear it.

40 comments on “Labour and the RMA ”

  1. lprent 1

    I would as well. As I understand (haven’t looked yet), this all went through under urgency, and without select committee…

    There was no reason for the urgency, and if they bypassed the select committee process then I’m going to get bloody annoyed.

    • lprent 1.1

      Ok looks like it went through committee.

      The bill was voted on in its entirety rather than clause by clause because that as how NACT wanted it. That sounds like one of those other ‘innovations’ that NACT has put into place on their path to dictatorship. Can’t remember hearing about that before.

      Labour approved of most of the changes to the RMA and were given no opportunity to do the clauses.

      I’ll have a look at the final detail on the bill during the weekend.

  2. the sprout 2

    Agreed Eddie, pretty shit look for Labour on the face of it.

    I would also be VERY keen to hear what compelling reasons Labour had for supporting these amendments.

    • Tigger 2.1

      I assume (and Red Alert confirms it I think) that Labour liked some of the amendments, didn’t like some, and were forced to choose to vote or not. To vote probably made more political sense than not. Their position on the tree thing is well known. I guess it was a case of not dying in a ditch over it.

      I am far more concerned about all this legislation being debated on under urgency. When will all those who screamed blue murder about the EFA going to start screaming about this affront to democracy? Never, of course.

  3. burt 3


    Perhaps Labour don’t share your perspective that if it’s a National party idea it is automatically a bad idea ?

    • lprent 3.1

      The tree one sucks. I’d describe it as a murder enhancing rate. Whats the bet that there are a few assaults after some arsehole kills their neighbours trees. It’d be as fast as going through the courts

      • gargoyle 3.1.1

        I might be mistaken but I would think killing ones neighbours trees will still be illegal and won’t be allowed under this revision of the RMA, although it may be hidden in the John Key baby eating sub clauses somewhere.

        • lprent

          The point is that after the maniac from next door kills your tree, the only recourse is to spend thousands of dollars and years to go through the courts. The existing law means that the councils can prosecute you.

          • gargoyle

            So the council can prosecute me for my neighbour killing my tree……………. OK

          • burt

            As the owner of a few acres of trees (non commercial regenerating native bush that I paid buttons for when it was a hillside covered in ‘useless’ gorse many years ago) I probably have a different perspective on trees that encroach on other peoples sunlight/views or stick their roots into peoples drains etc.

            Don’t get me wrong I’m a massive fan of trees (especially native bush) but in suburbia trees have to work around the houses people live in. Belligerence over trees planted on boundaries is the cause of much dispute and there certainly is such a thing as trees being a nuisance.

            From a green (environmental) perspective I think everyone should respect trees (and have as many as they can without pissing their neighbours off) but I have seen many situations where that little shrub planted 20 years ago becomes a monster tree and major problem and should be hacked down and replaced with a smaller variety.

            If you want to talk about buying useless land and letting it regenerate to native bush then I’m all for that as I have demonstrated by my actions – but I genuinely think getting precious about one or two specimens in the back year (often not even native) is just being ‘bad neighbours’.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Good on you burt. I plan to do the same.

            • burt


              Go for it, don’t be put off by 3m tall gorse plants. Wood turners (odd people they are) pay good money for solid gorse trunks. Sell it in small batches and you might be surprised how much you can get for it. Just don’t try to clear the gorse as you will get into a never ending cycle and the gorse will win. This is why people have often given up on land where gorse has taken over. However leave it completely alone for 10 years and you will notice the bush starting to outgrow the gorse and from there – the natives will start to dominate and – you have bush.

            • Draco T Bastard

              burt, it’s not about one or two trees but hundreds that are going to be cut down because they make life a little more difficult for developers.

            • burt


              Sure, choose unaffordable housing or compromise on trees in urban environments.

    • lprent 3.2

      Can’t remember you ever saying that anything from Labour was good. Perhaps you expect other people to operate on a different standard?

  4. Daniel Silva 4

    Maybe Labour MPs have approached this issue reponsibly, unlike the bunch of malcontents cowering behind anonymity in this blog.

    [lprent: I’m not anonymous. So far on the basis of one comment you appear to be a particularly stupid troll. Read the about and policy, you moronic dipshit before I ban your arse back to the sewer. ]

    • Daniel Silva 4.1

      Please provide the full nale of this foul-mouthed “lprent” person who is so courageously attempting to ankle-bite me.

      • Maynard J 4.1.1

        What kind of pseudonym is Daniel Silva? You a would-be pirate?

      • lprent 4.1.2

        Troll – so some work for once in your life. Read the About…. Read the policy to find out what exactly I’m thinking about doing and why. If you want to get hold of me – check contact. Mind you I’m pretty sure I don’t have a ‘nale’

        • Daniel Silva

          If you are going to insult people publicly, at least have the character of identifying yourself. But I suspect that the concept of ‘character’ is alien to you and the other malcontents who cower behind anonymity in this blog. Now, do go ahead and do your impersonation of Stalin.

          • lprent

            As I said – do some work. My name is listed as the owner of the domain (the same way I looked up yours). Since I run the site that you are a guest on, my rules apply – not yours. Or do you not recognize private property?

            As I said before you look like a particularly stupid troll

  5. the sprout 5

    Partial responses on Red Alert here… still want more explanation though


  6. Hilary 6

    I’m concerned about the clauses about community groups having no right to complain if they don’t complain at the beginning of the process (which might not even be notified). And now huge costs to do so. This was one of the worst aspects of the RMA in the 1990s (overturned by Labour early in its term) and it was virtually impossible for communities to protest against the Goliath power and resources of the big companies seeking the resource consents. Huge injustices on the horizon as telcos, power companies, mining companies etc literally bulldoze their way through communities.

  7. I appreciate they (Labour MPs) were in a difficult position but I thought that they should vote against the bill. It is a load of crap and the tree killing stuff is of itself sufficient reason to vote against.

    David Cunliffe did move to have the bill taken piecemeal but this required the leave of the House and Nick Smith voted against it.

    Funny but the Nats would never have blinked twice about voting against a bill. Anything that had anything to do with climate change was opposed even though they supposedly support action to deal with climate change.

  8. There’s no reason why Labour had to vote for the bill. Yeah sure they identified some places where they took issues with the legislation, but I would have thought that fundamentally Labour would probably have been “sitting on the fence” on this one. They could have abstained from the vote right?

    The tree issue has been well documented, but there are many other scary bits hidden away in the legislation. Changes that will make it even less likely that consents get notified (currently 95% of consents are non-notified… looks like that’s not enough apparently), that will make it harder for community groups to join appeals via s274 of the Act, requirements of security for costs, and so forth.

    One of the most dangerous aspects has been completely ignored – and that is that plan provisions don’t come into effect until submissions have been made on them, rather than when they’re first notified. Historic buildings and scheduled trees are protected by way of plan changes – so as soon as any are notified for protection it’s pretty likely they’ll be demolished or cut down because the effect of the scheduling won’t matter until submissions are heard. By then it’ll be too late to save it.

    • You are right Jarbury. I am others have been preoccupied by the tree provision but there were many other hidden landmines there and one wonders if this was a cunning plan to attract attention away from these other provisions..

      • jarbury 8.1.1

        Very much so micky. Reading through the provisions that relate to projects of national significance is doing my head in, but I’m pretty sure there’s some ugly stuff in there for NZTA to exploit when planning their next motorway through a community.

  9. sk 9

    Sorry Eddie, this post is way too diffident. You won’t hear from anyone at Labour. Their stance is pathetic.

    The RMA is about a robust civil society, and letting communities challenge both their elected councils and large companies / developers. Sure, the process could be improved, but that is about administrative reform – not legislative reform. These amendments streamline nothing. All they do is cut out communities from having a say in their future and their environment.

    The trees are a bait and switch. The real damage is happening elsewhere . .. . Labour has completely abdicated their role as a honest opposition. And to what end?

  10. mike 10

    In short labour want to shake the ‘nanny state’ / ‘bossy boots’ tag but in doing so will look like National lite. Poor old phil’s swallowing plenty of rats to stay alive but it can’t be long now surely…

  11. North 11

    You’re absolutely right.

    Normally, when the Government puts through a bill, and they don’t approve any of the amendments you want, you vote against it.

    This should be even more the case when the bill is rammed through under urgency. I believe Labour should be making much more of how much this Government is abusing urgency.

  12. North 12

    LPrent, there is no good reason, and you won’t hear it.

    Expect the Labour Party to congratulate themselves on how wonderful they are this weekend in Rotorua.

  13. sk 13

    Labour’s strategists need a bomb under them for this decision! If you had paid any attention to John Key in the last nine months the only idea he has had in his head is RMA reform. It makes no political sense to retreat in the face of this. RMA professionals are concerned about the reforms, community groups are appalled, environmentalists are freaked out, and Labour retreats without a fight. . . .

    Foreign policy is not going to close the gaps with National, let alone win the next election . Real changes are happening NZ, and they are not positive, yet all Labour can muster passion on is Afghanistan, and Bill English’s housing.

    Sorry, English ain’t on the ropes. It is Labour.

    Enjoy the weekend in Rotorua. At this rate there are plenty of relaxing years in opposition (if that is the right nomenclature for this lot) ahead . . ..

  14. tsmithfield 14

    Why are you all so worried about allowing people to prune their own trees.

    All that is happening is that the similar rules to those that apply in Christchurch will apply in Auckland. In case it escaped everyone’s notice, Christchurch is known as “the garden city”. So, obviously, the lack of constricting laws such as you have in Auckland has not resulted in the total destruction of the local vegetation.

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