Today's RMA Reforms Will Not Fix Problems

ACT Leader John Banks says the RMA reforms before Parliament today are weak and ACT will only support them on the basis that more meaningful reforms are coming next year.

“The RMA is a 700 page doorstop that is suffocating our economy,” Mr Banks said.

“It stifles development and job creation and is the main driver behind the restriction on land supply, which is pushing up house prices.

“Substantially reforming the RMA is one of New Zealand’s most urgent needs.   Sadly the changes being made in this bill range from so-so tweaks to backward steps.

“Automatically referring cases to the Environment Court will come as a relief to many people tired of council processes, but pushing the problems of the RMA on the courts is not a real solution.  Indeed, it shows just how badly real RMA reform is needed.

“Six month time limits for resource consents have a hollow ring.   It is extraordinary that delaying projects by only six months has become our goal.   The change will improve things, but we need to do much better.

“The move to include economic factors in council decisions sounds business friendly on the surface, in reality it will simply become a desperately unneeded extra layer of planning complexity.  These changes are a disappointment that will not fix the RMA.  

“We would do better to introduce a concept of property rights rather than giving councils even more criteria for controlling how people use their land.

“If National is serious about encouraging investment, growth and jobs, they will do a much better job of RMA reform next year,” Mr Banks said.