National is facing humiliation over it’s failure to get the numbers for its controversial Resource Management Act reforms as both the Maori Party and United Future refuse to back the legislation in its current form. This is very much a good thing for New Zealand’s environment and both parties are to be commended.
The changes, which are designed to weaken environmental protections and make life easier for property developers, have been a centrepiece of National’s policy manifesto. For over a decade now they’ve targeted the RMA as representing too much red tape (despite the fact it’s considered to be light-handed by international standards) and some of their biggest supporters including Federated Farmer and Business New Zealand have put a lot of time and energy into helping that meme along.
This is a fiasco created by Environment Minister Amy Adams, and an embarrassment for her government. It represents a basic political failure to negotiate support. This isn’t not surprising given Adam’s generally poor relationships with parliamentary colleagues, but I would have thought that Key would have had someone looking over her shoulder to make sure these reforms went through as they are very important to many of National’s most important backers.
Then again she’s a Collins supporter so perhaps it was in Key’s interests to giver her enough rope.