Mining lobby dismisses claims of power grab in RMA reforms
The mining lobby group Straterra says the government is right to try and improve the operation of the Resource Management Act and dismisses environmental groups' claims of a ministerial power grab as "rubbish".
"We all want the same thing, a robust framework for assessing development proposals against economic, environmental, social and cultural criteria," Straterra chief executive Chris Baker says in a statement.
"But we want that to be a workable framework, not a frustrating framework, and that's what we have now."
Environment Minister Amy Adams hit out at criticism from the Environmental Defence Society, New Zealand Forest & Bird Protection Society, the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and others, accusing them of making misleading statements about the proposed reforms, which were published last week for public submissions.
"Contrary to claims, core environmental protections have been maintained in the RMA and will, in many cases, be strengthened by the government's proposals," she said.
Mr Baker says "accusations of a central government power grab are rubbish when it is considered that councils will still be in charge of writing plans, with public input, from the ground up".
"The government already has the power of intervention at the local level - what this reform package does is provide criteria around when that is or is not appropriate. Who would argue with that?"
Ms Adams will take the stage this Saturday with EDS director Gary Taylor in a discussion of the RMA proposals at the annual conference of the National Party's Blue-Greens, a grouping within the party that seeks to promote environmental sustainability in the party's policy-making.