Changes to the Resource Management Act and mineral
permitting system, and possibly a review of the relatively new
Environmental Protection Authority, were mooted yesterday by
Economic Development, Energy and Resources Minister Simon
Mr Bridges was speaking to more than 250 delegates at the
annual New Zealand branch of the Australian Institute of
Mining & Metallurgy (AusIMM) conference in Hamilton.
''We have got to get the fundamentals right,'' he said of the
government agency roles.
With 150 amendments already made to the RMA and on-time
permit processing having increased from 69% to 97%, the
Government wanted to continue to cut red tape, he said.
Data collation, to entice overseas companies to explore, was
still a strong focus, with $4.5 million spent in the past
three years and $8 million earmarked for further data
He wanted further reforms to the RMA and improvements to the
process of submissions, court appeals and resource consent
applications, with added detail when appeals were lodged.
Mr Bridges made passing reference to West Coal coal mine
developer Bathurst Resources, which spent two years in courts
fighting multiple environmental organisation appeals, which
held up its production start-up.
He had ''some empathy'' with companies such as Chatham Rock
Phosphate; an EPA staff report on its application to mine the
Chatham Rise seabed was released last week, carrying news
that depressed its stock price and prompted a flurry of
allegations and counter-claims between Chatham and the EPA.
Mr Bridges suggested there should be ''time limits and caps''
to application periods, of four to six months.
Mr Bridges was asked for his take on the EPA decision that
stopped Trans Tasman Resources from getting its marine
consent to mine seabed iron sands off Taranaki.
He noted the EPA was independent, under the mandate of the
Minister for the Environment and ''ultimately designed to
give confidence to New Zealanders ... for the highest of
While some in the resource sector believed the decision
''highly disappointing or wrong'', he said if similar
findings continued, a National-led government could review
• Simon Hartley was hosted at the conference by