Monday, June 15, 2020

Steamrolling democracy

The government will be introducing its bill to gut the RMA this week. The bill will replace the current RMA process with a Muldoonist one for selected, projects, removing public submission rights and effectively gagging us and preventing us from speaking up for our interests or presenting evidence to inform the decision. It will also remove appeal rights, meaning that when a bad decision is inevitably made, there will be no legal way of correcting it. And by setting up the Minister as a gatekeeper to this fast-track process, it makes them a nexus for lobbying and corruption.

As for the process, the bill will be introduced to Parliament this week, sent to select committee, and reported back by June 29th - meaning a select committee process of just two weeks. Such a short submissions period means that a) people won't have time to frame a proper submission; and b) committee members won't have time to read or engage with it. The result is to turn the select committee process into a democratic fraud, a box-ticking exercise designed purely to give a semblance of "consultation" to a pre-determined decision. And as with other examples, I do not think people should waste their time on it, except to register their opposition. And again, its appalling that the Greens are supporting this - both the bill and the process. What a pack of fucking footstools.

As for the projects they will be legislatively fast-tracking, at lest they're not all roads. But each and every one of them deserves a full consenting process, so that the community's views can be heard and a good decision made. Our democracy is more important than their economic growth.