Today’s repeal of the Natural and Built Environment Act is rushed, ideologically motivated, and will be hugely damaging to the health of our communities and the environment.
“This new government is more interested in winding back the progress and trashing the environment than it is about setting out a clear vision for the future of Aotearoa,” says the Green Party’s environment spokesperson, Lan Pham.
“Aotearoa needs a planning and resource management system that puts climate resilience and flourishing nature first. This means delivering clean, renewable power; thriving natural habitats; liveable towns and cities connected by low carbon public transport; and warm, affordable homes in areas people want to live.
“The previous government’s reform of the RMA was far from the perfect answer, but it was a step forward. The resource management system that had been in place previously was broken. The planning process was cumbersome and failed to properly protect environmental and human health, particularly in the face of the climate crisis.
“What took its place was a system designed to better care for our precious natural environment and take steps towards upholding te Tiriti, while delivering the housing, transport, and climate-friendly infrastructure we so desperately need. The concerns raised by National during the legislative process, including on the deficiencies of the RMA itself, certainly do not justify taking a wrecking ball to the whole reform.
“Tearing up six years of progress for the sake of a few minor objections looks more like an act of slapdash scrambling than it does a vision for the country. Surely it would be a better use of time and resources for National to focus on changing the few things it says it doesn’t like. These issues could easily be addressed with a few targeted amendments.
“As a former local government councillor, I am particularly horrified that the government is riding roughshod over years of public engagement, expert input and hundreds of millions of dollars of shared public money.
“Forcing these changes through Parliament without proper public scrutiny or consultation is a blatant violation of the promise National made in their coalition agreements with Act and New Zealand First to take an evidence-based approach to decision making.
“The Government’s petty and short-sighted approach to planning and resource management is going to make it much harder to meet Aotearoa’s development needs within the limits of our fragile planet.
“But to the thousands of people watching in horror as this government turns its back on the years and years of work you have done, I want you to know that the Green Party will be a strong voice for our precious native wildlife and te Tiriti.
“Our children deserve to inherit an Aotearoa where everyone has a warm, dry home powered by clean energy; where native plants and animals are thriving; and where our communities get around easily and safely on wheels, foot or train.
“While that better future may be a little further out of reach tonight than it was yesterday, we can still make it happen. We just need this government to stop political point-scoring and start making some rational, sensible decisions that put our people and our planet first,” says Lan Pham.