Why the RMA needed reform

Today’s NZ Herald editorial is a timely reminder of why the needed reform:

When the supermarket chain Foodstuffs made the decision to establish a Pak ‘n Save on North Shore’s Wairau Rd, the internet had just been invented, cellphones were the size of bricks, Auckland’s boroughs were being amalgamated into four cities and the Resource Management Act had arrived.

Actually it was the Web that had just been invented, not the Internet.

So began a 20 year saga in the councils, courts and tribunals of environmental appeal that ended quietly on Wednesday’s deadline for an appeal against Foodstuffs’ latest consent. Finally its rival, Progressive Enterprises, appears to have given up.

Under the new proposed law, competitors can not use the Act to try and stop competition.

Whatever its commercial success, the supermarket will stand as a stark symbol of the follies of planning law that invites objections too widely and permits too many appeals. Applicants and objectors needs only a fair hearing and a decisive ruling. This case has been a disgrace.

It has been. Yet the Greens and Labour are against the new law.

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