This government seems unable to join the dots between environmental health and economic prosperity. That one relies on the other. They could do with a bunch of ecologists in the Beehive to explain that to the suits. Then again, they could just apply a bit of common sense and join the dots themselves.
The proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act (1991) and their implications were discussed last night by a panel comprising an iwi representative, Regional Councillor, an expert in RMA legislation and a member of the Green party as a part of “Stand up for the Environment”. It’s a Green’s initiative to mobilise voices to speak up against changes in legislation that are likely to speed environmental degradation http://www.greens.org.nz/events/stand-environment-rma-meeting-hamilton
The reforms come as a part of a wide ranging package that reassembles and redefines our relationship with the environment. It’s a very anthropocentric view – nature is there to serve our needs, and our needs are economic growth. The RMA was, and still should be our sustainability law. It was highlighted that the problem doesn’t lie with the legislation itself, rather, it’s the process of implementation that isn’t sufficiently resourced. The system also falls down badly where agreed ecological compensation for development is concerned. It’s not clear how the proposed changes in the RMA will address this, if at all.
There are wider consequences for flora and fauna. It is difficult to convince some landowners of the value of what lies on their properties – that bush remnant; that scrap of a wetland. Underneath all of the rhetoric, the proposed changes will see less protection, not only for what remains on private land, but those in the public domain as well – our coastline, our rivers.
The discussion document states: “This Government has received advice that today’s values and priorities are not well enough reflected in the RMA” (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/improving-our-resource-management-system.html p19). What exactly today’s values and priorities are, isn’t elaborated on.
However, there’s at least one statement I do whole-heartedly agree with though: “New Zealand can do a much better job of managing its natural and physical resources and planning for the needs of its communities” (P6).