Taxpayers Union trying to halt RMA reforms

A nationwide 'Hands Off Our Homes' campaign has kicked off in Canterbury, protesting against government plans to replace the Resource Management Act with new "Central Planning Committees".

The New Zealand Taxpayers Union is taking to the road to urge people to fight the proposal by the Government and Environment Minister David Parker, which they say would take some planning decisions away from local councils.

It is following up last year's 'Stop Three Waters' roadshow, and again hitting the road for a four-week nationwide roadshow.

New Zealand Taxpayers' Union national campaigns manager Callum Purves said the proposals would see 15 new "co-governed Central Planning Committees" created across the country.

"We're particularly concerned that there seems to be yet another example of centralization by this government.

"We've seen it with Three Waters where they were looking to take water assets away from local councils. They're looking to do the same thing with planning powers and transfer them to new regional planning committees, which will be unaccountable and will undermine local control".

The Christchurch community meetings are the first of a number planned over the next month.

Former National Party finance minister Ruth Richardson has thrown her weight behind a campaign to...
Former National Party finance minister Ruth Richardson has thrown her weight behind a campaign to stop the government's proposed RMA reforms. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The roadshow will visit 30 towns and cities, from Invercargill to Whāngarei, campaigning alongside Federated Farmers in some stops.

"We're calling on the Government to pause these reforms, to withdraw the legislation and to actually go back and consult more widely with people. The Resource Management Act does need to be reformed. But this is not the way to go about doing it".

However, Purves said they've already made some positive progress, after receiving an email from Environment Minister David Parker on Monday.

"He did say that the Government are going to backtrack on some of the concerns that the chief justice has raised around the Environment Court and the possibility that the national Māori entity could have a monitoring role over that Environment Court, which he was concerned would be inconsistent with New Zealand's constitutional arrangements".

The roadshow winds its way down south this week, with meetings scheduled in Central and South Otago, ahead of stops in Invercargill on Friday and Dunedin on Saturday.

 - Geoff Sloan, Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air