The Government’s contentious Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed it’s second reading in Parliament yesterday thanks to the votes of the two Maori Party MPs.
The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed its second reading 61-59 with National and the Māori Party supporting it and all the other parties opposed – including Government allies ACT and United Future.
The bill was held up for months because the Government didn’t have the numbers to pass it, until Environment Minister Nick Smith negotiated a deal with the Māori Party.
At the core of the bill are changes to parts of the RMA which govern environmental and planning decisions. They’re designed to make it easier for land to be developed for housing and the minister will in some circumstances be able to override council decisions.
“The reform is critical to addressing housing supply and affordability by making it easier, faster and less costly to create new sections,” Dr Smith said after the bill had passed its second reading.
“It opens up land supply and reduces the time taken to get consents.”
It’s been widely thought that the RMA needed an overhaul but there have been concerns over retaining environmental safeguards in particular.
Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox says her party’s support at the second reading doesn’t mean it has put aside all its concerns.
But she’s confident “ongoing talks” with Dr Smith will resolve those issues.
Labour MP Meka Whaitiri slammed the Maori party support: Māori Party support RLA bill & lose credibility
The Māori Party have lost all credibility with their support for National’s unpopular Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLA) which will undermine local democracy, damage regional economies and do nothing to help Māori in to desperately needed housing, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.
“This Bill introduces sweeping new powers to knock out GM rules in local plans and the Māori Party’s support is a blow to our local councils and regional economies.
“Here in Hawke’s Bay and our other GM free growing regions, food exporters are striving to have New Zealand placed as a global seller of high-value goods and our GM-free reputation is crucial to that.
“Attempting to pass off minor concessions over Iwi participation rights as a win just doesn’t cut it.
“As a former chief executive of Ngāti Kahungunu, our third largest iwi, I support council to Iwi partnerships; however there are at least 123 iwi and hapū who already have co-governance arrangements in existence.
“The Māori Party still claim a GE Free stance then vote for this bill.
“To say they’ll win further concessions at the committee stage is a cop-out and misleading.
“They made this deal with National back in November; if they haven’t negotiated the removal of the S360D powers by now, they never will.
“In a housing crisis disproportionately affecting Māori, the Māori Party have voted for a Bill that adds complexity to the Resource Management Act and makes it harder to get things done.
“Labour supports the current ability for councils to back their own local economies and make plan rules regarding GM,” says Meka Whaitiri.
Bill provisions include:
- National planning standards to reduce complexity and cost
- Streamlined planning process
- Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents
- Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks
- New requirements for councils to free up land for housing
- New provisions to enable stock exclusion from waterways
- More generous compensation for land required for public works
- Improved Māori participation arrangements