“The Government’s draft RMA Bill won’t do the very thing New Zealand desperately needs it to, lead to more houses being built,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Far from being a silver bullet for development, the proposal focusses on environmental restriction and central planning.

“Environmental standards are important but strict bottom lines risk creating a regulatory nightmare. Recognising that trade-offs do occur but can be managed if the end outcome is an improvement to the environment is needed to ensure sustainable development.

“This is one of the biggest crises Government has faced in a generation and in this Bill the first priority is to honour the treaty. 

"Currently the RMA requires decision makers to 'take into account' the Treaty principles, the new Bill says it must 'give effect to.' 

"This is another example of Labour's partnership state. The best thing we can do for Maori and all New Zealanders is to build more houses. 

“This wasn’t the first principles reform we needed, the problem with the RMA was that it empowered politicians too much and didn’t respect the property rights of land owners and future generations.

ACT would repeal the Resource Management Act and replace it with separate Environmental Protection and Urban Development Acts.

“The Urban Development Act would be based on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Better Urban Planning report and significantly expand the rights of property owners to build on their own land.

“The Environmental Protection Act would be rules-based, to provide property owners with certainty and confidence, and focus only on those environmental issues not addressed through other schemes.

“The Bill will now go to Select Committee where there is much work that needs to be done to improve it. ACT will be a constructive and powerful voice in favour of cutting back the regulations that hinders development today.”