“Parliament’s Environment Committee has agreed to ACT’s proposal to extend time for submissions on RMA reform, after Labour MPs tried to truncate the process to the summer shutdown period when businesses would find it harder to submit,” says ACT’s Infrastructure spokesperson Simon Court.

“ACT wanted to extend the entire submission process to 19 February at the earliest, but Labour MPs, who form a majority on the committee, refused to accept this. The compromise they eventually accepted was a one-week extension and the ability to consider late submissions until 19 February 2023.

“They originally set a closing date of 30 January for any submissions. This meant the only opportunity for contractors, developers, planners, infrastructure operators and councils to submit is in the middle of what is likely one of the only time periods their staff have off work all year.

“Most large organisations close for three weeks over the Christmas and New Year period to give their staff a break. This would have meant they lost three vital weeks needed to respond to the proposals contained in the 800 page Natural and Built Environments Bill and accompanying Spatial Planning Bill.

“The Committee has been inundated with requests for an extension of time from large and small organisations who are overwhelmed by the various laws and regulations being proposed. Parliament isn’t doing its duty if it doesn’t give people a fair chance to respond to the proposals contained in the 800 page Natural and Built Environments Bill and accompanying Spatial Planning Bill.

“The more people dive into the 800 plus pages, the more they will realise these bills will actually make it harder to build and are unlikely to improve protections for the natural environment.

“Like Labour’s healthcare, polytechnic, and three waters reforms, the reforms are more focused on the administrative structure for Government employees than the outcome for people. Projects will still be held up by years of hearings, appeals, consultants’ reports, and iwi consultations.

“ACT has released its own solutions for Building New Zealand and Conserving Nature that will bring real change to planning and infrastructure.”

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Simon Court