Friday, March 17, 2006

In the ballot VII

Another batch of private member's bills currently in the ballot. Previous batches are indexed here.

Resource Management (Restricted Coastal Activities) Amendment Bill (Nick Smith): This would amend the Resource Management Act to force the Minister of Conservation to follow the recommendation of the Environment Court when considering an application to grant a coastal permit. While I don't have a copy of the bill, I presume that it will do this by amending s119. It would also provide for any resource consent granted to commence on the date of the court decision or as determined by the Environment Court, rather than the date of the Minister's decision as at present. Finally, according to the Herald, the bill will be retrospective, and overturn the Whangamata decision, allowing the Whangamata Marina to proceed.

Marine Reserves (Consultation with Stakeholders) Amendment Bill (Eric Roy): This bill would require mandatory consultation with local stake-holders on the creation of a marine reserve. The Marine Reserves Act 1971 lays out a process for the creation of new marine reserves, requiring public notification and sufficient time for objections to be lodged before final consideration by the Minister of Conservation. While certain bodies (universities, iwi, marine research organisations and bodies responsible for administering existing reserves) can initiate the process, in practice it is usually begun by DOC themselves, meaning that they are effectively judge in their own case. Roy seems to think that reserves are often imposed over the top of the local community, and prefers the model set by the Guardians of Fiordland [PDF], a group of local businesses, recreational users and iwi who developed a plan for the management and conservation of Fiordland including the establishment of eight new marine reserves, from the bottom up. The plan has now been implemented in the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act 2005. It's an interesting idea, and one that at least deserves consideration by a select committee.

Local Government (Rating Cap) Amendment Bill (Rodney Hide): This bill would amend the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to limit overall rate rises to inflation + 2% per year, or inflation + 4% in any three year period, with the Minister able to grant exemptions. It will not however place any corresponding limit on the demands (e.g. for new roads, or functioning sewers) that ratepayers will make of local government.

I have plenty of bills this time round, and will likely do another batch over the weekend.


Agreed. At the same time, I think it is worth discussing as an addition to the current process. And generally speaking, if the local community can organise itself and come up with a credible plan to protect their local environment, that's something we should support.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/17/2006 09:12:00 AM

I've blogged about the rates issue, propising some alternatives to the current shambles:

Posted by Hans Versluys : 3/17/2006 10:04:00 AM