Proposals to streamline the resource consent process and
increase local government productivity came under fire from the
Otago Regional Council this week.
The council decided to make submissions on the Resource
Management Reform Bill 2012 and the New Zealand Productivity
Commission: Towards Better Local Regulation at its meeting.
The reform Bill aimed to further streamline the resource
consent regime, streamline the delivery of Auckland's first
combined plan, improve the quality of local decision making
and improve the workability of the Resource Management Act
Council policy director Fraser McRae said the proposals
seemed to counter the simplifications or streamlining the
Government was trying to attain.
The most concerning changes were around the section 32
reports councils prepare for resource consents, which would
require economic analysis and quantification of costs and
benefits, he said.
''The proposed changes will result in increased time required
to undertake cost-benefit analysis and will therefore result
in greater costs of undertaking the work.''
Chairman Stephen Woodhead said the changes seemed to ignore
the fact that small projects could have big impacts and the
call for more information on consents was concerning''The
potential to cost more time and money is ridiculous.''
The productivity report was not very complimentary of the way
central government treated local government, he said.
Mr McRae said the commission's draft report expressed
concerns that were ''a little alarmist'' and assumed the
checks and balances in the regulations did not work.
''It appeared to miss the major point about inconsistencies
in approach between local and central government.''
It also appeared to be a response to complaints from the
private sector about getting tied up in local government red
''Don't blame us - we do what the statutes tell us to.''
The major concern not addressed was how central government
delegated work to local government without considering the
costs, he said.
Cr Michael Deaker said the council needed to push the point
there needed to be some latitude to allow diversity, as areas
were ''not the same and never will be''.