RMA changes may add to delays

Last updated 17:51 23/04/2009

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Changes designed to simplify and streamline the Resource Management Act may actually create more delays and increase costs, a select committee has been told.

The local government and environment committee is hearing submissions on a bill introduced by the Government to remedy what it considers to be excessively bureaucratic processes that delay consents.

Local Government New Zealand said in its submission at today's hearing that some of the processes were frustrating, but it considered some of the changes in the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill were not well thought through and could add to delays and uncertainty.

It has asked for some of the proposed amendments to be set aside for more considered analysis.

Business New Zealand said it supported the fundamental principles of the Resource Management Act but its implementation had caused "significant cost and delay" to many legitimate business projects.

It generally supported the amending bill but it asked the committee to reword the Act to acknowledge that change was "not necessarily or always negative".

Business NZ said some definitions in the Act were unclear and should be improved.

"Some definitions are so broad as to invite appeals," it said.

"The definition of 'environment' includes 'ecosystems', a term that could refer to anything from a molecule to a solar system."

The amending bill contains more than 160 changes to the Act and the committee is hearing dozens of submissions each day it holds hearings.

It has to report the bill back to Parliament by June 19.



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