Dunne signals no progress on RMA reform

Last updated 15:47 22/01/2014

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Restored minister Peter Dunne has signalled a gulf remains on some issues that could stop him supporting key Government legislation.

Prime Minister John Key announced yesterday Dunne would become the Minister of Internal Affairs on Monday, but said this did not come with an agreement for Dunne to support National's changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Today Dunne said that since he warned he would not vote for RMA reform in the form that was proposed late last year, there had been little movement or discussion with the Government.

In 1989 he worked on the development of the original legislation as associate environment minister alongside Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

He had no issue with procedural changes to the RMA, but was concerned about a more fundamental overhaul.

"I have major difficulties with any changes to the principles and the way in which they're presented in the act," Dunne said today.

"And that's essentially where, if you like, the debate stops.

"The only way I would become hopeful would be if there was a backdown by the Government."

Key said on Tuesday that the Government was talking to "parties" about getting support for a first reading of the RMA legislation, and was confident it could get a majority at that stage.

"I'd want to know there was at least a pretty good chance that it could progress beyond first reading," Key said.
Dunne also signalled he had not yet given the Government a commitment that he would support the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

He had issues related to a clause "to allow employers effectively to call off talks [with employees] after a certain period".

The issues had been under discussion "for some months" but he would not say whether he was prepared back down if the clause remained.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said. 

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