RMA changes look positive

February 1st, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The SST reports on likely changes to the . They are:

  • enable local councils to make planning changes more quickly (currently takes six years on average)
  • prevent companies using the law to stymie competition from rival firms
  • no change to the environmental purposes of the act
  • major projects could now be heard by a board of inquiry headed by an Environment Court judge or a retired judge
  • local bodies could nominate people also to serve on the board
  • limit the number of appeals that go further up the track
  • increase the power of the courts to be able to ping players that have abused the RMA process
  • maximum fine for breaches of RMA to increase from $200,000 to several million probably

In summary it is not about changing what projects get consent, just about speeding up the process which is insanely long at the moment.

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20 Responses to “RMA changes look positive”

  1. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    As always the devil is in the detail so lets just wait and see if in fact the National Greenie has actually made changes that allow things to happen, i.e. business to proceed.
    Its going to select committee so I guess it will be watered down rather than strengthened and the whole process will take forever. Results maybe in time for next Xmas.

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  2. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    not before time. Fantastic.
    ‚ÄúThat is small beer compared with the $4 million or $5 million they may be making per year by not having competition in that key marketplace.”

    The case in point would have to be the multimillion dollar supermarket complex that has sat completed for years over on the North Shore, but not open -. The competitors have successfully kept them shut using this current dishonest process

    Funny how two such incicidents both happened on the North Shore. Fox outlet was the other

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  3. Frank (320 comments) says:

    About time. Time also to make those abusing the RMA pay and through the nose. Progress at last and tne intent of the Act is achieved

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  4. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Will we redefine the meaning of ‘environment’ along the way, do you think? hmmm?

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  5. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I just hope that the anti-competition clause covers anti competitive behavour by Councils such as Wellington City’s openly declared plans to restrain suburban centres to protect “the golden mile.”

    Landlords love monopolies but the end result is less efficient retailing, meaning higher prices, lower wages and fewer jobs.

    And the golden mile will begin its gradual decline because if you are protected from competition there is no need to invest to keep up standards.

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  6. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    The last clause in the definition of environment should be deleted because that is the one which is used to justify all these “economic” interventions to “protect the community’s investment in the built environment”.

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  7. Neil (588 comments) says:

    Great news as long as the government doesn’t weaken to some of the greenies and loonies out there.Damn the snails !!
    Here in the Otago-Southland region(Not the deep south!) we have several wind farm hearings on. They are being brought by organizations with no money, depending on the state to provide legal aid funding. When they lose and charged with costs they simply dissolve themselves leaving the government holding the baby. What a pack of nonsense !!
    We even have an appeal by the Upland Protection Society(Anti-Central Otago windfarms) appealing against the Kaiwera Wind Farm which is near Gore,which ironically has little opposition locally.For you in the north, that’s about 150km away.
    These loonies have played havoc with future power development in this nation.
    However the government must still give locals and opponents a fair go in discussing these consents.
    I’d like to see some discussion on the place of coal in our future energy strategy. Here in the Lower Mataura Valley we have 700-800 years of coal available for fuels. An ounce of luck and common sense will see Otago-Southland be the energy base of New Zealand. That is, if the RMA is cleaned up.
    For huge projects of national importance they need to go straight to the Environment Court who will take on local commissioners to help in the hearings

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  8. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    local bodies could nominate people also to serve on the board

    We have this now locally. Basically it’s unelected professional busy-bodies enforcing their world view on everyone else. Never seen one instance where they were pro-growth. So from the points outlined, it’s now faster to put the brakes on progress? :roll: Christ.

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  9. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    As I said the devil is in the details and the Nats. being the true socialists they are won’t change much. Interesting to see if ipredict thinks that the changes will be major?

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  10. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    http://blairmulholland.typepad.com/mulholland_drive/2009/02/controversial-my-arse.html

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  11. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    At everyone except the applicant has financial incentives to prolong the process and make the process as complex as possible.
    More hours – more revenue..
    The only solution I can see is for Rodney to succeed in capping rates to inflation (except for special projects supported by referendum) and then to require the rate revenues to pay at least 50% of the costs of processing costs.
    The processes are supposed to be in support of the public interest so the public should pay but more importantly with a rate cap massive processing costs would have to be paid largely out of rates which means someone else’s pet budgetary item would lose out.

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  12. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Sorry, that should read:

    At present, everyone except the applicant …..

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  13. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    A recent Pew survey reveals a few home truths about Smart Growth and vibrant communities etc.
    I have long claimed that behaviour determines location while the Smart Growth theory assumes location determines behaviour.
    The survey agrees.

    Who We Are Shapes Where We Want to Live

    Some notable demographic and ideological patterns emerge in the survey responses. For example, most young urbanites consider cities the place to be, while most middle-aged urbanites would like to live elsewhere. Seven-in-ten rural men are content where they are, compared with just half of rural women. Most rural conservatives feel right at home; most urban conservatives don’t. But urban liberals do.

    Demographics and political views also help shape people’s taste for specific cities. Many more young adults than older adults are drawn to New York and Los Angeles. More men than women want to live in Las Vegas. Well-to-do adults are twice as likely as the less affluent to want to live in Boston. Republicans think Phoenix would be a great place to call home. Democrats feel the same way about San Francisco.

    Geography matters, too. Seven of the public’s 10 most popular big cities — Denver, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento — are in the West, and the other three — Orlando, Tampa and San Antonio — are in the South. The five least popular big cities — Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Minneapolis — are all in the Midwest. These attitudes reflect what government data indicate about the nation’s migration patterns: Americans are leaving the Northeast and the Midwest in favor of the South and the West.

    Other survey findings include:

    Americans are all over the map in their views about their ideal community type: 30% say they would most like to live in a small town, 25% in a suburb, 23% in a city and 21% in a rural area.
    By a ratio of more than three-to-one, Americans prefer living where the pace of life is slow, not fast. A similarly lopsided majority prefer a place where neighbors know each other well to one where neighbors don’t generally know each other’s business.
    By about two-to-one, they prefer to live in a hot-weather place over a cold-weather place.
    On the food-and-drink front, a slight plurality would rather live in a place with more McDonald’s (43%) than one with more Starbucks (35%).
    About seven-in-ten whites rate their current community as “excellent” or “very good”; only about half of Hispanics and four-in-ten blacks say the same. Rural and suburban residents rate their communities better than do residents of cities and small towns.
    People who live in a city — as well as people who want to live in a city — are more open than others to the idea of living with neighbors who are of different races. They are also more open to living among immigrants.
    When it comes to community involvement, there is no difference among those who live in cities, suburbs, small towns or rural areas. About half of the residents in each place say they are involved, and half say they aren’t.
    Read the full report at pewsocialtrends.org.

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  14. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    “In summary it is not about changing what projects get consent, just about speeding up the process which is insanely long at the moment.”

    And insanely expensive……! A gravy train for lawyers and consultants.

    Great posts, Owen McShane. Let’s re-run THIS one:

    Owen McShane (557) Vote: 4 1 Says:

    February 1st, 2009 at 4:56 pm
    “At present, everyone except the applicant has financial incentives to prolong the process and make the process as complex as possible.
    More hours – more revenue..
    The only solution I can see is for Rodney to succeed in capping rates to inflation (except for special projects supported by referendum) and then to require the rate revenues to pay at least 50% of the costs of processing costs.
    The processes are supposed to be in support of the public interest so the public should pay but more importantly with a rate cap massive processing costs would have to be paid largely out of rates which means someone else’s pet budgetary item would lose out.”

    Good idea.

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  15. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    DPF, you conveniently ignore that National’s pre-election policy said something different.

    I must say I prefer what Nick Smith is saying now.

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  16. big bruv (13,923 comments) says:

    Toad

    You seem to conveniently ignore the fact that you ruled out doing a deal with the Nat’s before the last election yet now you have the cheek to demand that they consult you.

    It seems that hypocrisy is a live and well inside the Green party.

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  17. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    Big Bruv I met Green Party MP Russel Norman yesterday.

    I can only say that now I almost feel sorry for Green Party voters.

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  18. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    big bruv, if you had followed the link you would have realised that the point I was making was that particualr policy was one of the primary reasons the Greens ruled out supporting National on confidence and supply.

    What Nick Smith is saying now appears to be very different and significantly less unpalatable to Greens than what was in the pre-election policy.

    And you accuse the Greens of hypocrisy!!!

    Was the National policy pre-election just a beat-up to get the pro-development vote that they never had any intention of following through on? Or is Nick Smith telling porkies now about what will actually be in the legislation to mitigate opposition to it?

    I guess time will tell, but the National position pre-election was significantly different (and from a Green point of view worse) that what Nick Smith is now reported by the S S-T as saying.

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  19. Couchpotatoe (35 comments) says:

    MMP has knocked some of the ACT sharp edges of intent with this bill. Essentially to do with process and allows a modicum of participation in the planning and consent process.
    May be more declines me thinks given the narow push for “timely” decisions.

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