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ACT would repeal RMA - Whyte

ACT wants to repeal the Resource Management Act, new leader Jamie Whyte told the party's annual conference in Auckland.

Mr Whyte said if  part of the next government, ACT would try to scrap the 826-page law, which he says infringes on New Zealander's ability to use their property.

Dr Whyte said National has done some work in the amendments it has made while in government, but ACT wants to go further.

"People have tried to fix it, fix it, fix it - but it is inherently an ill-conceived piece of legislation."

The only justification for law of its kind would be to address a serious market failure and if there was no remedy through the common law, he said.

Details of what regime would replace the RMA were sketchy.

There needed to be environmental protections in the law, but they shouldn't violate property rights, Mr Whyte  said.

"We may have another environmental kind of a law, but it would be nothing like the RMA in its ambition."

The ACT leader did not say the new scrap-the-RMA policy would be a deal-breaker in coaltion talks with National.

Comments and questions

This guy is getting worse

National already have agreed to address the act and are in the process of doing so. Having no form of RMA is suicide for NZ Inc

Then we would have our waterways even more polluted with cow effluent from the ever increasing dairy industry and appetite from China
We would have water schemes extracting all the water out of our rivers

We would have building disasters of CHCH proportions etc etc

I have decided that he is not a clown - worse a complete idiot

Agree with you Doctor

With John Key in charge with National they have a good grasp on how the RMA should work while still protecting our land, resources and people.

Act are a joke - supported by geriatric beneficiaries of the extremes of the 1980's

NZ Inc has moved on from those days and most just laugh at these loonies from the far right.

National have a good grasp alright. They know it's awful law too. The problem they have is 1. getting the masses interested & 2. Getting elected by those that are by suggesting that it should dumped...which it should be. Unfortunately it'll be around for a very long time as the very mention of scraping it, or even mildly adjusting it, will have the wholemeal jersey wearing, wooden bicycle-riding sandal wearers on the streets. (oh yeah and middle-class mums with prams)

How exactly have national addressed the RMA?. They might have agreed to do to, but towards the end of their second term the reality is tinkering around the edges at best. Where Doctor is the evidence of this government having the balls to address the RMA?

Had it not been for the lunatic fringe that National has to suffer association with in government, we would now have a more workable RMA. One person stood in the way of an improved Act.
The last time National endeavoured to improve the RMA, the country changed the government, Helen gave the RM Act to Fitzsimons, who promptly stripped all the changes out, and added even more draconian clauses of property ownership use theft.

Ignorant garbage. The RMA has no role in building safety. We had a Clean Air Act and effluent emission legislation long before the RMA. Likewise water rights. 99% of RMA costs and interventions have absolutely nothing to do with either, or any other real environmental issues. They are simply busybodies interfering in other people's lives and businesses.

The only ignorant one is you Alan

The RMA was introduced to stop ignorant farmers from further damaging waterways and to ensure councils had robust procedures to ensure developments were under control.

The previous Acts were not working as developers and farmers stretched the boundaries. You should be blaming the greedy farmers and developers for creating the RMA in the first place. The RMA wouldn't be here otherwise

The Doctor makes more sense than you on this.

What do you think of greedy councils anonymous? How about council's robust procedures, any thoughts on those you would like to share?

Well said Alan, the RMA is a complete dog's breakfast, an anchor around every little decision that a homeowner might wish to make. Arbitrary powers granted to busy-bodies and arborists, consulting arborists, council arborists, et al. AND at the same time as people were paying good money for building plans, resource permissions, building inspections, we have a leaky building failure with economic wipeout in excess of Christchurch's re-build. On top of that we have councils using the MOST expensive attorneys they can muster, paid for by ratepayers, to defend actions by ratepayers for damages due to negligence by council officials. Is there any more reason necessary to get rif of the RMA? How is it that houses built years ago without any council involvement are still standing today?

"The Doctor" seems unable to understand that allowing people to use their own property does not mean they would be allowed to pollute public property, or take it for their personal use public. "The Doctor" fails to understand, then accuses somebody who does of being not a clown - worse a complete idiot. Unfortunately, there are too many ignorant people like "The Doctor".


All of a sudden Act is looking relevant again.

I'd given up all hope.

Now all they need top do is declare categorically that they will interfere at a local body level and prohibit the 'Iwi circles' and unelected committee folk as is being tried on in Auckland (and soon to a council near you) together with the raft of other agenda 21 & treaty plans the socialists are conniving.

Act and National should worry when Shane Jones is the only politician with an decent publicised opinion on all these matters.

Act is becoming a liability to National with Acts new leadership

National has positioned itself well - covering most of the right through to middle NZ. Associating with the loony right is probably a worse move than Labour having Hone potentially on the left

Hone's policies have a big financial cost but Acts policies will destroy NZ - permanently. Act is taking us back not forward.

I can't seem to remember when any of the policies of ACT or it's founding members have been reversed by any of NZ's governments, whether they were from the left or the right.

Oh that's right, Cullen bought back NZ Rail - what a disaster that turned out be.

Labour did buy NZ rail back, but that had nothing to do with Act or its founders. Rail was sold, quite sensibly, by National.

That's right National did sell rail, following on in the footsteps of Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble during their reign in government. That's my point, those policies have never been reversed as it was the right thing to do.

I never said Labour's buying back of rail had anything to do with ACT - ACT opposed it, and rightly so.

National covering off the right? Are you joking? National are a centrist to slightly left-wing party; which is why Labour are struggling to find relevance.

If National were to campaign to get rid of the racist seats, remove the undemocratic representation of Iwi in National and Local Government, and to ensure that property rights are protected then they may have some ability to say that they represent the right. But whilst they rely on racist seats, allow Auckland Council to subvert the RMA to shore up the Mayor's support amongst Maori and allow the use of the RMA and Consent process to bog down even minor development they absolutely cannot say that they represent the right.

RACIST seats?

Your education is lacking in Treaty issues. Here it is in a nutshell.
1. Maori were here before the European and Anglo-Saxon Settlers (yes, there is a difference).
2. Maori were not 'conquered' but 'entreated' to allow settlement peacefully.
3. This was not honoured, at times by both sides, for all number of reasons (Read Claudia Orange as a starter)
4. The Treaty Of Waitangi Act 1975 was voted in by a democratically elected government and despite lay beliefs, is reasonably clear in so far as interpretation is concerned (Witness numerous Treaty settlements).

In addition, Maori influence in business, tourism, environment and politics only serves to strengthen the economy as it benefits all people regardless of ethnicity.

By the way, please define Race?

The point isthat the RMA has become a millstone around our necks. The original idea was for it to be a GUIDE, but it has turned into a strait-jacket. It needs to be cancelled and a new format produced. Why should I need to get a consent to build a shed in my backyard. And shortly not only from a council bureaucrat, but also for one, OR MORE, Maori groupings who feel they'd like a say - and I have to pay all of them!

ACT is reasserting itself - as an irrelevant self focussed small group of people.

Yes - the RMA needs reform, few would dispute this but these crazed libertarians would go far too far.

Well I suppose if Wyhte's in favour of siblings getting married then scrapping the RMA is quite pale in comparison.

Mr. Whyte made it clear he is not in favour of incestual relationships. He merely questioned what it has to do with the government provided the parties consent.. That's a valid question.

Has Act thought through the electoral consequences of this policy? The central Auckland electorates that railed against the Auckland Council plan because it allowed medium density housing are hardly going to pleased with all restrictions being removed.

Incidentally, will Act get rid of the rules around historic places too? That would be much appreciated.

Whyte seems to have an inordinate amount of self-esteem. He accuses others' thinking of being "woolly", but his own is shot full of holes. He regularly gives his cited "philosopher's" opinion on issues which he obviously knows nothing about (e.g. treaty claims" - and on others which he apparently simply hasn't properly thought through..

Quite funny, really. But ACT is finished

I find it strange how he sees it as a violation of people's private property rights. As someone who administers the RMA (consenting and enforcement) I can say that the Act essentially protects private property rights. I'll explain with an example: property owner wants to establish a commercial chicken farm. RMA makes him consult with neighbouring land owner who lives 100m away and runs a business selling produce from their property. Chicken farmer claims his neighbours shouldn't get a say in how he runs his business. However he neglects to think about how his activity on his propert May effect those beyond his boundaries. Essentially the RMA makes sure that what u do on your property does not then dictate what others have to do on theirs. If left unregulated the very same people would be hypocrites. These type of people would also be the first ones complaining should say their neighbour drill a bore and start taking water to the point where their business couldn't work because of no water. They would be claiming they should have been considered.

I also enforce under the Act. The powers are week and we are only scratching the surface when we catch these guys. All too often you find them putting money ahead of the environment, buying new Holden's or a holiday home instead of a new effluent pond. I would hate to think what would happen if the market was left to its own devices. We are essentially cleaning up the mess of such problems from the past. The RMA is far from perfect and. National have good reasons for wanting to make changes. But this crap from the Act party just demonstrates how far from reality these people are.

The proper solution is to formalise property rights to sunlight, peaceful enjoyment of your property, clean air and water. Then allow these to be tradeable so that neighbours can negotiate deals when someone wants to do something that would violate these rights.

And then sack the massive bureaucracy involved in taking over all these decisions, imposing blanket prohibitions and mad rules on everyone, telling us what color we can paint our buildings and requiring an army of consultants to write reports full of legalistic b.s. for everything a property owner might possibly want to do.

You are the problem, not the solution.

Where in the RMA does it provide for me to have to consult with people who do not own my land, do not live in my area and have had no interest in my land for over a hundred years before I want to do anything? And all because they left a rubbish dump somewhere under my neighbour's neighbour's property many hundreds of years ago?

I rather thought that the RMA was all about protecting property rights, by restricting people from imposing externalities on others. Abolishing it simply elevates some people's property rights over others. It is really a principled position, or just self-interest dressed up in a bit of shabby ideology?

It's neither. It is simply a bit of gum-smacking from someone who almost certainly has never read the act.

@ #9 by Malcolm 11 hours ago
& #8 by Anonymous 11 hours ago-

So the tort of Nuisance is dead and buried?
Who knew?
The last time that I invoked it , it was alive and well, and had exactly the effect that you claim as the raison d'être of the RMA.
Arguably the RMA makes no advance beyond the pre-existing Law of Torts, and on that basis was completely unnecessary.
All that may arguably have been necessary was a prosecutor to protect the public from the nuisance created by private individuals.

The principle remains that you confine your effects to your own property.

But then , what would Geoffery Palmer do if he was not spending so much time dreaming up new legislative "opportunities"?

Well said. Real property rights are tradeable and owned by the property owner, not by bureaucrats and busybody interest groups.

Those defending the RMA here wouldn't know a property right if they fell over it.

That's the best news I have heard of in years and "if" National were serious about fixing the RMA Act they would have done something about it by now. Well done Act - throw it out and let the councils get on with managing their own regions.
Well done Jamie Whyte - keep it going.

Private property rights are like nationalism. Wrap yourself up in flag or a property deed and you can never do any wrong. Absolution from being a good neighbor.

People have always have to abide by community standards from the beginning of civilised living.

The libertarian ideal is nothing but an illusion, a straw man that never existed.