Peters tips backing for reform

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 07:35 21/02/2014
NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Fairfax NZ
WINSTON PETERS: NZ First leader.

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Winston Peters says NZ First may provide support for Resource Management Act reform at least in the early stages, saying changes in some areas are needed.

The Government's plans to reform the legislation appear stalled, with UnitedFuture and the Maori Party warning last September that they could not support the proposals.

"If the Government is amenable to logical, sound changes, then we might [support them] but we've not seen them yet," Peters said, ahead of his state of the nation speech in Auckland today.

"Often in this caucus when we vote for bills they are frequently stated in our caucus record to be to select committee stage only.

'It gives us the liberty of finding out what the public thinks."

Changes were "definitely needed" to the RMA, including creating consistency between the North and South Islands, and addressing the cost and time it took to gain resource consent.

Peters' speech will outline what he saw as the problems facing New Zealand - he signalled yesterday that he did not believe the economy was as strong as was being claimed.

While commentators have described it as "rock star", exporters were struggling against the overvalued currency, Peters said.

The New Zealand dollar was now consistently trading above US80 cents, and the Government insisted that nothing could be done about it.

"That is not how an export-dependent nation's monetary policy should be managed," he said.

"The very idea that you can't control your currency is hogwash."

Countries such as China managed to address currency speculation.

"We do intend to deal to that currency speculation in our market," Peters said.

"None of it is of value to us." 

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