Monday, 4 August 2008

No RMA reform that's worth a damn, with even worse promised

THE NATIONAL PARTY, SAYS John Key, promises to "reform" the Resource Management Act "within the first 100 days of our first term.


Remember that National introduced the Resource Management Act back in 1991.  Remember that National's Nick Smith administered the Act as environment minister, without change, for three years to 1999 -- and he's on record as describing it as "far-sighted environmental legislation." 

What do they want to do to it now that they haven't wanted to do before? And what will Nick "far-sighted environmental legislation" Smith want to do to it anyway?

Do they want to put protection of New Zealander's property rights at the heart of the Act?  No.

Do they want to take power over your property away from planners and council bureaucrats?  No.

Are they promising anything that it will make projects like the Whangamata marina and Wellington's waterfront hotel any easier?  No, they aren't.

To make it easier for a builder to get a subdivision consent and lower the price of land to buyers?; or for a supermarket owner to build a new supermarket in the face of a competitor?; or a developer to build a new village in the face of council opposition?  No, of course not. 

Will they abolish the likes of development levies, and squash the huge delays and rises in consent costs that add thousands, and sometimes millions, to every private project in the country?  No, of course they won't.  Will they do anything at all to increase the supply of suitable land available on which to build houses, or to remove council planners the power to zone private land, and the power to set urban walls around New Zealand towns and cities?  No, emphatically not.

Not one of these things will happen under National.

OF THE FEW DETAILS released that actually describe what they would do in that first 100 days (and who now expects details from this lot?), all they really establish is they will make it easier for the government to "Think Big" -- requiring projects of so called "national significance" to be consented in nine months, or else.

That won't help you or I get our projects built or our property rights protected, but it would allow the government to steamroll over people's property rights to push through projects like the Waikato pylons.

They don't want to protect your property rights.  They don't want to make it easier for you to build, they only want to make it easier for them to build, using borrowed money.

They say, or at least, Nick Smith promised last year, that they will set up an "Environmental Protection Authority"? 

Does that sound like less bureaucracy and less of the stifling red tape that's strangling us all? 

The say, and Key promised this in his conference speech, to enact an emissions trading scheme. "My goal," says Key, "is to have such a scheme on the statute books within nine months of taking office."

Does that sound like less bureaucracy and less of the stifling red tape that's strangling us all? 

"We are determined to remove the handbrake the RMA places on growth," they say. "We are determined to let good ideas flourish in this country. We are going to get New Zealand moving again."

There is nothing reported from either Smith or Key to indicate any of that is true, nothing at all to indicate either will do anything to help New Zealanders get their property rights back -- and much, including that promised emissions trading scheme, to suggest otherwise.  This is just more new window dressing that looks just like the same old window dressing, with new impositions thrown in.

National are NOT the answer.


  1. "projects like the Whangamata marina"
    What about the rights of the surfers? When they finish the marina there's a very good chance that one of NZ best surf breaks will disappear for ever.
    If you want evidence, the exact same thing happened to Omaha and one of Auckland's best breaks was destroyed.

  2. Do the surfers own the surf?


  3. No they do not own the surf LGM. Yet they wish to issue dictates to those that own the land all they while making free use of the infrastructure provided by the productive. A clear case of exploitation.

  4. To be fair, neither do the marina promoters own the foreshore or seabed on which they wish to build.

    It perfectly demonstrates how in the absence of clearly delineated property rights it's impossible to rationally determine who gets to use what, and whose interests ar protected.

    But the absence of clear property rights is not the reason for the long delays in this instance -- around twelve years or so since the inception of the project. It's entirely due to the RMA.

  5. And to be fair, those that create value should be left free to appropriate that value.

    Otherwise we have choas, and the potentaial of exploitation, as demonstrated by this example.

  6. PC
    Your talk of the errosion of private property rights and RMA inspires me to send you these links:

    and me:

    Benson-Pope has given a private company aquiring authority to take my land for their own financial benefit ... I have no idea when I can get on with my own life. Certainly not within the next 3 - 4 years by the time the appeals are heard .... whichever way the case goes with the comisioners.

    I am crushed, my soul is destroyed and the only indication that my life has not ended is that I am still breathing.



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.