An excellent piece by Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times:
Government sledges the RMA, but the facts tell a very different story
… Various ministers are angry. They say the RMA is impeding New Zealand’s progress. Bill English believes the RMA is the main reason for housing unaffordability, Steven Joyce argues it blocks economic development and Nick Smith, the minister responsible for the RMA, says it is a disaster. …
There is plenty of reliable analysis on how the RMA really works. It happens to be compiled by Smith’s own Ministry for the Environment. But he and Amy Adams, his predecessor, never quote it. Adams even left it out of her paper on radical RMA reform in 2013.
MfE has been monitoring councils’ RMA performance every other year for 20 years. The latest report was released last April. But it was the last. In 2011, this government decided to replace the biannual survey with a new monitoring system. But four years later it’s not yet working.
This is further evidence of how the government buries data that contradicts its spin.
Likewise, the government released this week the measures for its environmental report this year. But it omitted New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. …
Of course the RMA is complicated because so many difficult economic and environmental factors are involved in the big issues processed through it. But since it became law in 1991, councils have steadily improved their handling of it, as the MfE surveys show. …
Since the RMA became law, the number of cows in the country has doubled and the number of people in Auckland has increased by 50 per cent. That’s progress but at some environmental cost.
Imagine what the country would look like now if the RMA had been weaker.
Plenty more in the full piece, should be required reading for anyone involved in the RMA debate.