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Smith Dismisses RMA Criticism

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Nick Smith
Nick Smith

Wellington, April 28 NZPA - Environment Minister Nick Smith is standing by a change to the Resource Management Act that critics -- including the New Zealand Transport Agency -- say could make projects take longer and cost more.

In Parliament today Labour MP Trevor Mallard quoted from the agency's submission last week to a select committee considering the bill and expressed concern Transport Minister Steven Joyce dismissed a change to notices of requirement as "a minor technical matter".

The submission estimated the Manukau Harbour Crossing would have cost more than $100 million more under the new bill.

Dr Smith said at present some businesses had the power to decide their own applications. Under the current law local councils can appeal to the courts, but if the proposed changes are approved they will be able to make decisions.

"Is it appropriate for a requiring authority, many of which are private companies, to be both the applicant and decision maker on such consents, noting that it actually adds an additional stage to the process?" Dr Smith asked.

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