No Dunne deal on RMA reform

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 15:41 22/01/2014
Peter Dunne
MINISTER AGAIN: Peter Dunne.

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Restored minister Peter Dunne has signalled a gulf remains preventing him from supporting a key piece of Government legislation.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed on Monday Dunne would become the minister of internal affairs, but this didn't come with an agreement to support National's reforms of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Today, Dunne said that since warning late last year he wouldn't vote for RMA reform in its current form, there had been little movement or discussion with the government on the issue.

Back in 1989 he worked in 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. And that's essentially where, if you like, the debate stops,'' Dunne said today.

''The only way I would become hopeful would be if there was a back down 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,'' said Key.

Dunne also signalled he had issues which meant he had not given the Government a commitment that he would support the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, 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 to back down if the clause remained.

''We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.''

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