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Government's RMA Amendment Bill Process Farcical

Government has left farmers with no choice but to air its concerns on the Resource Management Act Amendment Bill at an unofficial public hearing today.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) National Board member Neil Barton says the Federation is outraged that the parliamentary committee considering the Bill will only hear submissions from officials.

"Contrary to the Minister for the Environment's claims that the Bill has been 'discussed to death', there are significant changes to the intention of the original legislation.

Mr Barton says Federated Farmers does support 'limited notification' changes to the Bill that will reduce costs for consents that have little environmental impact.

"However this will not offset the likely increase in costs if changes are made to the way the Act is administered or if proposals to increase the importance of historical heritage sites are implemented.

"The heritage provisions of the Bill are based on a flawed interpretation of the Act that undermines farmers' property rights, as has already occurred with the significant natural area (SNA) provisions.

"It is fundamental that control of decision making is retained with the landowner to achieve better environmental outcomes."

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