INTOUCH: RMA Reforms Could Stimulate New Activity

Reform of the resource management law will save ratepayers and businesses millions – and could stimulate hundreds of millions in new economic activity, according to major business group.
The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development says proposed RMA reforms to lower the cost and speed up the process for making quality decisions will be welcomed by business – and others who are indirectly affected.
The NZBCSD – whose 73 member companies’ annual sales of $59 billion equate to 43 percent of gross domestic product in dollar terms – says the country will also benefit from faster technology roll out and improved energy security and more quickly develop efficient infrastructure if the RMA is streamlined.
“It’s good to have central government taking regulatory leadership,” CEO Peter Neilson says.
He says reform – while still protecting the environment and communities – could help avoid:
• flow on costs – to consumers in higher prices for goods and services,
• communities suffering substandard, deteriorating or unavailable services,
• infrastructure deficits in transmission and other assets,
• properties near major projects suffering “planning blight” (loss of value, harder to sell),
• unnecessary and heavy cost burdens on councils and ratepayers.
New technologies and agricultural practices could be rolled out or accepted more quickly, boosting economic development and the quality of life, Neilson says.
“The RMA couldn’t cope with growth, and it can’t cope with recession. Streamlining is needed.
“We look forward to seeing the detail of the proposed legislation, as some of the reforms are likely to prove difficult to implement.”

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