Saturday, April 4, 2009

RMA Reform

The accommodation and tourism industry have a vested interest in the proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act, now under consideration by a parliamentary select committee.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) appear to wringing its hands over mystical environmental concerns and the rights of busy-body objectors rather than focus on the freedom of its members to develop their own private property.

Ideally, the right of recourse over pollution or nuisance by neighbours should be covered by common law. If we must have a complicated bureaucracy of checks and balances in the form of a tinkered RMA, then as a minimum standard, an owner's property rights must be embedded at the core of the legislation.

3 April 2009
Press Release: Tourism Industry Association

Balance needed in RMA Reform, tourism industry says

Effective environmental management is vital to the continuing success of New Zealand’s tourism industry but the current workings of the Resource Management Act (RMA) must be improved, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

In its submission to the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill, TIA says the reforms must find the right balance between preserving the environment and allowing sustainable economic development to occur. “Tourism is one of only a handful of industries in New Zealand that is almost wholly dependent on the environment for its success,” TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar says.

“Our scenery and landscapes form the basis of the 100% Pure marketing positioning that has been used so successfully overseas. But the RMA strongly impacts on many tourism businesses and TIA members are clear that they want improvements to reduce costs, time and delays in getting resource consent.”

People must continue to be allowed to raise valid objections about resource consent applications on environmental grounds, but stricter criteria is needed to cut down on frivolous or vexatious objections, Mr Cossar says.

“We have concerns about the proposals to limit the ability of trade competitors to take part in the resource consent process. While this has been abused in the past, in some cases tourism operators may have legitimate environmental concerns about applications made by a competitor. We want to ensure freedom of speech is protected.”

“The proposal to significantly increase penalties for breaking the law is also of concern. While we agree with the need for a penalty regime, we want to ensure that penalties imposed on tourism operators who may in some cases inadvertently fail to comply with the law do not put those operators out of business,” he added.
TIA has also called for improved training for local authority staff and others responsible for administering the RMA. This would contribute to efficiency and cost reduction.

The submission includes comments from tourism operators about their experiences of the RMA, highlighting the evenly divided views between those who regard it as hindering development and those who see it as protecting the environment.

“There is a strong view that while the guiding principles of the RMA are sound, the Act has caused significant costs and delays to some legitimate tourism projects that could have delivered sustainable returns to New Zealand’s economy,” Mr Cossar says. “We are asking the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to carefully consider how the Act’s objectives can be best achieved.”

A full copy of the TIA submission is available: HERE.

Source: Click HERE

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!