“RMA reform must uphold the rights of property owners while freeing up land for development and making it easier to develop, a balance which is completely missing from today’s announced repeal and replacement of New Zealand’s consenting system,” says ACT Environment and Local Government spokesperson Simon Court.

“ACT has called for the RMA to be completely overhauled for several years but this is not the first principles reform that’s required.

“There are still going to be a whole lot of people who tell you what you can and can’t do on your own land and for plenty of people, by the time they’ve asked everyone for permission it won’t be economic to undertake the development they proposed in the first place.

“Essentially this is the RMA by three other names but with more Maori consultation.

“If it’s not, Labour needs to explain how it’s not. They say they want to make development easier but nothing we’ve seen today suggests it will be.

“Labour is proposing to set up new agencies with new regulatory powers that essentially cut and paste the worst elements of the RMA into three new pieces of legislation.

“This will tie land up in planning purgatory for another decade and have the effect of increasing red tape and the cost of housing and doing business.

“The Government’s plan will entrench the worst local government behaviour and planning practice.

“Labour’s reforms do nothing to challenge the activist planning lawyers and judges who have been largely responsible for stopping vital projects and housing developments in recent years.

“While planners fiddle, there will be little progress on freeing up more land for development and our infrastructure continues to fail faster than it can be repaired.

“Our economic potential will only be realised by reducing government interference in our lives, not by creating more government departments and three more planning laws.”