National’s Resource Management Act (RMA) reform spokeswoman Judith Collins is calling on the Government to consult with the Opposition before it pushes ahead with RMA reforms.
She is also accusing Environment Minister David Parker of “shooting from the hip” after revealing plans to reverse changes to the legislation National made when it was in Government.
Speaking to Interest.co.nz, Parker says some of these changes were “absurd.”
Specifically, he cites the removal of the right for applicants and submitters to appeal discretionary resource consent decisions made by local councils.
“They were picked as absurd by critics at the time, including developers who were, at first blush, the beneficiaries of those changes.”
He has also suggested much bigger changes to the legislation are on the way next year, including how long it takes councils to approve plans, as well as areas around national guidance.
But Collins says Parker should have done the Opposition the “courtesy” of consulting with National on areas the Government wants to change.
“If he wants to get support, it’s always best to consult and to send us through what he’s looking at.”
She says National will be taking a different approach to the Labour Opposition who, she says, made a habit of opposing “almost everything” National put forward.
“They took a very mean-spirited view about a lot of legislation. We, of course, don’t want to take that view.”
She wants to work with the Government, especially when it comes to further reforms to the RMA.
“My view is always to keep an open mind about things and to see whether or not there are unintended consequences.
“We’re always willing to support decent legislation that we think is going to help developers and the development of property, so let’s have a look to see what [Parker] is up to.”
One of National’s biggest issues with RMA reforms was getting its coalition partners across the line to support changes.
Last year, it did a deal with the Māori Party after turning down ACT and United Future's proposals for changes to the legislation.
But Parker is confident the Government won’t have that problem when it comes to making amendments.
He says the main complaint from National’s support partners was the changes were too complex and nothing was actually being fixed.
“Some of the best things we can do the fix the RMA is stripping out some of the mistakes that were made in recent amendments.”