Resource Management Act reform one step closer
During the final moment of the US Presidential election this week, there was an announcement that National and the Māori Party have reached an accord on amending the Resource Management Act. Labour has come out in opposition to the reforms. The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill has been referred back to Select Committee to be finalised before being made law.
It cannot be denied that the Resource Management Act (RMA) has a virtually impossible job of setting the framework both permitting economic growth, and protecting the environment in our country for future generations. Reform is needed, but the question is: what reform will result in an improvement in the management of the country’s resources?
Horticulture is here for the long term. Horticulture New Zealand’s vision and mission are healthy food for all forever, and creating an enduring environment where growers prosper; we focus on all aspects of sustainability. Therefore, on our shopping list for effective RMA reform is:
- Reducing the time and cost of getting resource consents. (Noting that reducing the consultation time to enable urban development should not mean that horticulture (and other primary industries) lose their ability to put forward a national perspective for the benefit of New Zealand as a whole.)
- Where appropriate, having National Standards that apply across all Regional and District Plans so that there is a consistent approach. This would mean, for example, that high value land for growing fruit and vegetables is protected and houses are built on other land – only five percent of New Zealand land is suitable for growing fruit and vegetables.
- Allowing horticulture to grow and contribute to the New Zealand economy, environment and culture.
- Once there has been wide and informed consultation with decisions made based on scientific, economic, cultural and social evidence that also recognises the competing interests, that is the end of the matter.
Developments with RMA reform will therefore, be watched with interest.
- Mike Chapman, CEO