Another year, another push by government to "reform" the RMA to make it easier for its cronies to dig, bulldoze, and build whatever, where-ever, without having to listen to anybody else. While many of the proposals in their discussion document [PDF] are technical, the substantive ones are horrifying, including:
- adding a development clause to the "matters of national importance", while weakening heritage protection and public access to beaches and rivers, and removing intrinsic environmental values and amenity values;
- allowing Ministers to direct local bodies to change their plans in specified ways, and if unhappy with the results, amend them directly - basically over-ruling the elected representative sof local communities;
- allowing the government to draft National Policy Statements for local areas (and hence further dictate the content of local plans). So for example they could draft an NPS for the management of water in Canterbury, again over-ruling local elected representatives.
- allowing MfE or EPA to basically write everyone's plans through a highly detailed "national template";
- reducing notifications, consent requirements, and appeal rights;
- allowing the Minister to regulate for some types of consent decisions which do not meet call-in criteria to be made not by local councils but by an (unspecified) national body