Friday, 26 February 2016

Peters suggests again removing “meaningless Maori preference” from the RMA


What gives planners and councillors power to dictate how cities grow (or don’t) is a piece of law called the Resource Management Act, or RMA.

It is the same Act giving young planners total power over what every land-owner in the country can do on their own land.

At the very heart of the Act too are anti-concepts like “kaitiakitanga” and “waahi tapu” that helps make iwi “guardians” of land they no longer own; provision for so-called “iwi planning documents” for land iwi argue they once controlled; and the insistence that when you do anything more aggressive on your land than mowing your lawn you “shall take into account the principles of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The RMA has been “reformed” many times – flaccid tinkering each time that has changed nothing of value.

This time around, the Key Government (in thrall to the Maori Party’s vote) has proposed more mostly tepid reforms; smuggled in with them however are so-called “Iwi participation arrangements” that will make explicit what has been implicit for some time: that iwi are becoming “partners” with council planners in telling you what you can and can’t do on your own land.

The only politician to speak out against what he calls “a signal flare to the entire country that the two parties are taking us down the track of separatism” is Winston Peters, whose party’s votes would be sufficient to pass the other tepid Key Government reforms without needing the Maori Party’s support. Key has already suggested that with Peters’s support he could “wind back” these concessions, but it seems no serious talks have been held between them. (Perhaps because Peters prefers to do his talking through a headline rather than across a table.)

Peters however reiterated on Wednesday his offer to assist the Government achieve “meaningful RMA reform” provided that all references to separatist “Maori preferences” were eliminated from the Act.

Crucially too, in one of the few references ever by a politician to property rights in relation to the RMA, he added that reform of the RMA should “include landowner compensation if councils continue to restrict property rights under the RMA” – again with the proviso that all “meaningless preferences” are removed from the legislation.

Says Don Brash:

His offer MIGHT finally make meaningful RMA reform possible, and eliminate racial preferences from the legislation.

To be fair, any reference in the Act to property rights would be somewhat meaningful – and this is as little a look at it is possible to take – although it would take away none of the power that planners have to lock down a city’s growth.

But added to that an offer to remove meaningless Maori preference means it is an offer that should be taken seriously.

You can read Peter’s offer in a speech on Wednesday otherwise full of mercantilist garbage. Perhaps that’s why the press gallery have yet to pick up on what could be an important change to what they like to call “planning law.”


  • “Since these same promises have been made every single time the Resource Management Act has been amended – right back to Nick Smith’s first tinkering with it back in the late 90s – and right up to the Key Government’s last chocolate-coated turd -- I won’t be holding my breath for Nick Smith’s promised announcement tomorrow any more than I have been for the last twenty years of promises.”
    So they’re “reforming” the RMA again? – NOT PC, Jan 2015
  • “Peters is right to say this is separatism. He is wrong to think it is anything new. In my chapter in the recent book One Treaty, One Nation (available at all good booksellers), I point out that separatism is nothing new; it has been a growing part of New Zealand planning law—a process that accelerated in the last two decades with the introduction of the Resource Management Act.”
    Peters, and the path to separatism: It has been long mapped out – NOT PC, 2016
  • “If you’re buying or building a house in Auckland—or contemplating doing yours up—then don’t make another move until you’ve checked with your local iwi. Or even up to thirteen local iwi, each of them with their hand out.”
    WATCH: 'Taniwha Tax' exposed on TV3 – NOT PC, Dec 2015
  • “’Without property rights’ - without a place to stand- ‘no other rights are possible.’ Point that out to the drafters of the RMA Amendments when you get a chance.”
    Right to property = a place to stand – NOT PC, 2005
  • “So what [are they] proposing for the protection of property rights? … [They] "will ensure that property rights are never taken without compensation." Huh?! That's what [they] call protecting the sanctity of property rights? Subsidising theft? …
        “Unfortunately, this disgraceful apology for property rights -- the idea that property rights = compensation for 'takings' -- has also gained traction in the US, where Donald Trump used it to have the New Jersey legislature try and throw people out of their houses in Atlantic City, so that he could build a new parking lot for his casino. …
        “This is not the sanctity of private property rights, this is legal plunder.”
    ACT [not] protecting property rights – NOT PC, 2005

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