Thursday, 2 March 2006

More RMA iniquities today

News today that:
  • an Auckland developer has just been fined $100,000 under the Resource Managament Act (RMA) for cutting down his own tree on his own land;
  • after years of hearing and more than a million dollars spent on its application under the RMA, a Resource Consent to build a $10million Whangamata marina may be overturned by the Conservation Minister.
  • UPDATE: "A new report on housing says town planning regulations might be partly to blame for high land prices driving up housing costs. The report by Motu Research has found land prices increased by almost three times as much as overall house prices between 1981 and 2004... Motu's senior research associate... says land prices might be rising so quickly because of town planning regulations aimed at restricting urban sprawl." This report of course backs up the earlier report by Wendell Cox Associates that showed NZ's housing affordability "is in crisis."

As Ayn Rand said long ago, when the productive have to ask permission from the unproductive in order to produce, then you may know that your culture is doomed. Are we there yet? Time to stick a fork in our arse and turn us over to see if we're done? Or perhaps it's time to shred the RMA and take back your property rights -- you betcha!

LINKS: Whangamata Marina decision due within week - NZPA
It's time to drive a stake through the heart of the RMA [PDF] - Peter Cresswell
Report links land prices to planning - TVNZ
Regional Housing Markets in New Zealand: House Prices, Sales and Supply Responses [PDF] - Motu (February 2006)

NZ Housing affordability "in crisis" says report - Not PC

Property Rights, RMA, Environment, Common Law, Politics-NZ, Urban Design


  1. And another report links planning controls with higher prices.

  2. Thanks for that, whoever you are. :-)

  3. Hi again PC,

    I am interested in what your libertarian ideal for planning controls is. You have probably posted on it before so a link is fine.

    From my perspective, I deal every day with frustrating Council red tape, but in real terms I can't see a better solution. And I am dead certain that 'hands-off' laissez-faire is the wrong solution. Architecture is a difficult profession requiring skill and care, and the consequences of building failure can be catastrophic.

    I am interested to know what you, if given ultimate power, would put in place instead of our current (admittingly frustrating) arrangement.


  4. Den, if I were "given ultimate power" I'd turn it down. :-)

    But to answer your question as you'd like me to: With what would I replace the RMA? My answer in two words would be Comman Law. I'd replace the decade-long failure of the RMA with the seven-hundred years of sophistication of the common law -- specifically common law protections of property rights, and a Bill of Rights that makes that protection implicit.

    A late-nineteenth century Law of Torts will give you most of the specifics. Every home should have one. :-)

    You can follow that 'common law' link from the front page to see what I've written before on the subject if you like. The detailed proposal I wrote some years ago for how we might get from here to there is still offline, but perhaps I might rehash that sometime soon. In the meantime, perhaps 'The 'Right' to a View' and 'Cue Card Libertarianism -- Common Law' give most of the flavour.

    Feel free to ask more. :-) BTW, how's the architecture going?

  5. Probably needs to be some identification of imputed property rights under current council plans as it is (sight lines etc.) but it wouldn't be difficult to do, in fact it could be the last thing local authorities EVER do - along with gifting footpaths to adjacent properties!

  6. It is not clear from what I have heard on the subject, was the tree the developer cut down listed as protected when he purchased the property? If so he has no excuse, he is in breach of contract, although the penalty seems rather severe.


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