Nick Smith stays mum

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, February 2nd, 2009 - 4 comments
Categories: Environment, national/act government - Tags:

The Sunday-Star Times has an article on National’s proposed RMA changes. Unfortunately, it’s just Nick Smith describing the changes. And, surprise, he doesn’t mention changing the definition of environment, the crucial change (we discuss the consequences of the change here).

Fortunately, it’s all online here. You can read not only the changes that National wants to make but also what Local Government New Zealand (basically, the association of councils) thinks of them. Here’s what they think of the big one, the change of definition of the environment:


Really weird that Nick Smith forgot to mention it – it’s first on the list. Must be an accidental oversight.

4 comments on “Nick Smith stays mum”

  1. insider 1

    Yes but the problem is this social/economic impact is being used to stifle investment on entirely unenvironmental grounds. So we see endless economic/social impact reports wasting millions of dollars and years of research rolled out both in favour and against projects.

    Contact tried it last year when they objected to a wind farm saying the grid couldn’t handle the extra power. Really all they were concerned about was their vested economic interest, and being undercut on power price and having their generation sidelined. There’s been similar in Auckland around planning rules protecting encumbent merchants on the North Shore. Meridian and objectors are similarly arguing over whether the North Bank Tunnel project is needed for security of supply.

    It should not be the Court’s business whether a power plant or anything else is ‘needed’ or whether there is the capacity to integrate it that is the risk of investors, regulators, government and markets to manage. The RMA was supposed to be permissive not judging whether something was worth doing that is just making councils and the court into central planners.

  2. toad 2

    SP, I didn’t read it as Nick Smith staying mum, I read it as him saying something to the SST that contradited National’s election policy.

    I guess time will tell, but if that is one election promise that they propose to break, I’ll be the first to congratulate them for it.

  3. Kate 3

    Insider – Changing the definition of environment is not the right mechanisim to stop companies protecting their economic interest. There are ways of restricting this by directly addressing this issue rather than using the definition of environement to get around it. As a conservationist who works for a developer I see both sides using the current definition to get what they want out of the decsion. I am convinced that implementation rather than legislation is what the issue with the RMA is (for developers at least)

  4. SjS 4

    Kate, I am a RMA consultant and agree with you on that one. The major RMA issue is implementation, not the Act itself.

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