5 November 2003
Resource Management Act - more of the same
Changes to the Resource Management Act could bring further blockages to the economy and problems for property rights, says Business NZ.
The RMA Amendment Bill (Energy & Climate Change) is currently being considered by the Local Government & Environment Select Committee.
In oral submission to the committee Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw said the amended law would require decision makers to favour renewable sources of energy over non-renewables.
He said a bias towards renewables would be reasonable in a situation of adequate energy supply, but NZ has supply problems that are causing loss of business and loss of investment.
"Giving preference to renewables before they are cost-effective just hamstrings the economy. All energy supply options should receive equal treatment during the transition phase towards renewable energy," Mr Carlaw said.
Under the amended law, decision makers would also be required to give regard to the effects of climate change, including increased risk of flooding and erosion.
Mr Carlaw said this could further erode property rights and result in landowners being prevented from developing their properties if a local council allowed the amendment to be misused.
"Consent authorities are already able to limit development if the flood risk is too high. This amendment could be used by those opposed to a particular development when no other reasonable grounds of objection exist, making yet another obstacle in an already convoluted process.
Citing extreme weather events is an inadequate reason to introduce a potential new barrier to the consent process. For example, recent flooding in the Coromandel and associated property damage is more a consequence of underinvestment in flood management infrastructure than the 'effects of climate change'.
Addressing the reasons for the lack of that investment would be more profitable than requiring consent authorities to consider a still uncertain area of science."