10 September 2012
Some of the proposed changes to the RMA could help to better protect the environment while enabling appropriate development, says Eric Pyle, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association, in response to environmental groups' criticism of the recent Technical Advisory Group's report on RMA principles.
"I am calling on environmental groups to not lose sight of the good points in the report," says Mr Pyle. Yesterday the Environmental Defence Society, Fish and Game, WWF, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace and Ecologic released a joint letter to the Environment Minister that expressed concern with the report's recommendations.
"The TAG report recommends clear definitions for significant biodiversity and outstanding natural landscape. It also recommends that regional councils be responsible for identifying these in regional policy statements.
"Currently, there is considerable uncertainty with how landscape and biodiversity values are treated in RMA processes because they are not well defined or understood. This leads to costs and delays for all parties, not just industry. It also causes unnecessary angst and frustration in communities affected by proposed developments.
"The recommendations would vastly improve the current situation. After 20 years many local councils have failed to identify significant biodiversity and outstanding natural landscapes.
"It is critical that New Zealand has a clear definition of, and process for, identifying significant biodiversity and outstanding natural landscapes. Only once these features are identified can informed decisions be made about protecting them and allowing appropriate development.
"It is time for the Government to support councils in identifying these values by providing an approach that can be applied consistently throughout the country," concludes Mr Pyle.