Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says National will have a ‘significant’ RMA bill ready some time in 2019 that will deal with the issue of land supply

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says National will have a ‘significant’ RMA bill ready some time in 2019 that will deal with the issue of land supply

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says National is in the early process of constructing new RMA legislation, which will be ready some time next year.

He has also admitted that National should have done more to pass RMA legislation in its first term in Government between 2008 and 2011.

Speaking at the New Zealand New Zealand Constructive Industry forum in Wellington on Thursday, Bridges said that RMA Reform Spokeswoman Judith Collins is “working away on an RMA bill for you to look at next year.”

“We are really clear that if you want to deal with land supply, you need to have significant RMA reform.”

Collins says National is still in the early stages of drafting the legislation but has promised the bill will “return the concept of property rights to owners of the land.”

She did hint that under National’s bill, RMA legislation won’t fall under the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment. But she stressed that the bill would protect the environmental parts of the RMA.

“It’s time for us to have a real re-think about the whole issue,” she told the conference.

“If we don’t have a rethink, we won’t get rid of some of the poor decisions that have come in that have gone further than the RMA was ever meant to go.”

The bill, she says, would need to be pro-housing and urban development and would look at some of the planning rules that are being imposed.

Speaking to media after the speech, Collins said she would like to have a bill that other parties could sign up for and if not, National would take it into the next election.

But, Bridges says if Housing Minister Phil Twyford comes out with “good RMA reforms,” National will support those.

“We won’t do to them what they did to us for nine years,” he told the conference.

He says National “would love to see a bipartisan approach to this issue.”

But Twyford says it’s not the Government’s plan to make any amendments to the RMA.

“We don’t believe changing the RMA legislation is what needs to happen.”

He says the real problem is the planning systems and the way councils make their planning and consenting decisions.

That, he says, can be changed through national direction under the current RMA process.

“We think that 90% of the gains that we want to see in the urban development space, to allow our cities to grow and bring down the ridiculously high cost of urban land, can be achieved by fixing infrastructure financing and freeing up the planning rules at a local level through national direction under the RMA,” Twyford says.

We got in wrong in our first term, Bridges says

Bridges also used part of his speech to call out the previous National Government for not passing RMA reforms when it had the chance.

“Some of you may say ‘why didn’t you do this when you were in Government? The reality is we should have in our first term.’

“That was the only term, 2008-2011 where we had the numbers in Parliament. Past that, we never had the numbers.”

In its second and third term, National was relying on support partners, such as the Maori Party, Act and United Future.

Act Leader David Seymour says National rejected RMA reform in 2014 confidence and supply negotiations with ACT.

“After the 2014 election, National, with ACT’s support, had the numbers to pass RMA reform, but Nick Smith dragged the chain until Winston Peters won the seat of Northland in 2015. 

“In 2016, Nick Smith rejected an ACT/United Future proposal, instead rushing into the Maori Party’s arms and accepting the pernicious iwi participation arrangements.”

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Simon says "Sorry citizens, we didn't have the numbers so couldn't pass any legislation." Pull the other one, it plays jingle bells.

People have been giving the CoL grief for taking 11 months to sort out the Overseas Investment Bill, but it took National 8 years to sort out RMA? And yet it's not sorted?

And they were such a strong Govt they couldn't even get their lapdog ACT or Peter Dunne to go along with them.. Must have been some pretty bad legislation for that to happen.

I think they had to be seen to be doing something, no matter how badly they do it.

Having seen the regulatory restrictions that were gradually accreting to the development process National were trying to free up the house building/development side of things from the central govt end. Amongst other changes they were trying to limit the power of 3rd party objectors based on environmental concerns which are often spuriously used as a cudgel to prevent development - by increasing the cost and delays so much as to destroy the commercial viability of the development. Well moneyed groups or individuals could effectively use such tactics to prevent competition or any change they didn't like.

Dunne and Maori Party were opposed to these changes as they didn't like power being taken away from objectors 'environmental concerns'.

Lets see what the Coalition manage to do to reduce negative impacts of this Banana (Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything) RMA regime. With Greens riding shotgun I would say nothing will change and we will be left with status quo at best.

Yes, a big yawn. The RMA is their big scapegoat. Such an unimaginative bunch

Good to see new policies being developed although I'm not sure what “return the concept of property rights to owners of the land.” means in practice. Is this the cue for developing a Unitary Plan on steroids?

Good to see a possibility of re-balancing power in relation to the RMA.

The purpose of the RMA is to get a balance between development and protecting the environment. The mechanism for ensuring this is public consultation.

Now before I get a scree of objections - I see myself as being more about wishing to preserve the environment but I also strongly support the necessity for sustainable development.

When the RMA was passed in 1990 - i.e. pre-internet and social media - the balance of power was with developers. The reality is that gradually this balance of power has shifted from property owners towards those anti-development through the power of inter-connectivity and social media.

The implication for this is that more people are involved in the process (really great) however the ability to interconnect and spread information means that they now hold far greater power; in 1990 public arguments were largely limited to letters to the editor. It is power to communicate and generate objections that so many projects have floundered and other projects have taken an inordinate amount of time.

Over seven years after the earthquakes, the Christchurch CBD is still in a sad sorry state. Following the Napier earthquake, the CBD was rebuilt and a city re-opened in a virtually completed state within two years. A committee of three carried that process out and they were not only efficient but produced a city which is a world renowned Art Deco icon. (And don't give me the argument that the Christchurch CBD is a bigger task, because that is surely off-set by developments in heavy machinery and supposedly more efficient building techniques.)

A specific example is the rebuild of the Christchurch Cathedral. It has been a time consuming decision making process which has meant that still no clear decision - let alone work - has really progressed. Here the owners of the Cathedral - the Anglican Church - have been prevented from following their own desire through the efforts of a very vocal and interconnected group.

Here in the Hawke's Bay, a privately developed walking track on private land on the side of Te Mata Peak was opposed by a vocal minority (their petition gained far less support) that meant the track's existence was untenable. This was despite a public road to the top of the peak, numerous farm tracks, and housing already existing on the privately owned land on the peak.

Don't get me wrong; I do not want an dictatorial decision making process and I support planned and sustainable development. However, developments in social media have over taken the RMA in its current state at the determent of landowners ability in allowing them efficient sustainable development.

You can't have a 'balance' between development and protecting the environment. That's 80's thinking. And at every claimed 'balance' point, we've pushed on developing (Cant'y Plains are a classic example). What you have to do is set the environmental bottom-lines, and allow anything that can clear your hurdle. And have enough teeth to stop those which transgress.

And - whether efficient or not - you can't have sustainable development. It's an oxymoron (as is Green Growth).

You can, however, increase those activities which are sustainable (almost none currently - tourism, dairying and most housing are out). Our problem now is that so much of our infrastructure is Fossil-Fuel-dependent, that we won't even be able to maintain, let alone add.

What you are saying in effect is, "it was great when no one knew what we were doing so we could get away with lots of things we cannot do now because ppl object because they know. ie the law and its intent has not changed just these days its more likely to work as intended.

I know the RMA like the back of my hand. Another amendment is not what is required.

Meaningful change will need to come by way of a replacement Act. The RMA has been subject to so many amendments since 1991 that it is now a ramshackle document. I'll also note that implementation of the RMA and the "effects based approach" has not been as its founders anticipated.

The John Key government did not need the 'numbers' to add a national policy statement (NPS) to the RMA that would have guaranteed a 'right to build'. That is a power the Minister of Environment has always had.

Instead the National Government implemented a Nick Smith special in 2016. A NPS on Urban Development Capacity which is so convoluted no one understands it.

It has had little effect.

Hopefully Judith Collins can come up with something better.


Not quite true. A number of plan changes have been initiated across NZ in 2018 using the national policy statement as a key basis for them

" Bridges says if (Labour) comes out with “good ( pick your favourite topic) reforms,” National will support those."
Good one Mr Bridges. It's pragmatic thinking like that; thinking in the true national interest ( as opposed to National interest) that just might get you an extended term as Opposition Leader; avoid being rolled by one of your colleagues in short order. And who knows, after that.... Keep it up!

"IF" is a conditional word. I don't think he'll be called on to actually do it given the COLs performance to date.

When did National need Labours vote when in office? I can only think of once Dunne or the Maori party played up , but i think it was an issue Labour wouldn't have supported anyway . He is making it sound like National could have done more if only Labour supported them.

Seems all very reactionary and tactical to me in light of the bill passed y'day. It's almost like stating "nothing to do with foreigners; it's all about land regulation." Well yes, we know that the RMA is another market distortion. Hugh Pavelitch has been highlighting that for years, but what has been done to improve the situation besides lip service? And based on this announcement, National has nothing meaningful in the pipeline, just suggestions that they do.

But, Bridges says if Housing Minister Phil Twyford comes out with “good RMA reforms,” National will support those.

“We won’t do to them what they did to us for nine years,” he told the conference.

He says National “would love to see a bipartisan approach to this issue.

Sounds like a guy who's in damage control Yes, the CoL is also unlikely to have anything valuable to offer. To me, it seems the political leadership of NZ is inept. Brash and MacDonald are on the money.

National are such a good party when in opposition, it's only when in government they are lazy and complacent. Long may they remain doing what they do best!

Anyone stuck back in the 'land supply' days is irrelevant to the conversation we need to have. As per Pukekohe, the whole rest of the planet is ploughed, planted, grazed and razed for the incumbent citizenry. So we need to ask what we're displacing....

And it's pretty rich coming from a Party which removed democracy (CRC) to further the unsustainable use of land, and appointed patsies in things like the EPA.

But the RMA does need be revisited. For a start, the definition of sustainability it hangs on, isn't a definition of sustainability. By default, that means it's a definition of unsustainability - which is pointless.

I'll give them another tip - no matter that they're just setting things up for a privileged few, there isn't enough spatial planet left to double. Not even once. Pick your growth rate, pick your end-point. Hiding-to-nothing territory.

And until someone addresses population and/or consumption per head, we'll continue seeing these ignorant attempts to transcend fact.

I can think of almost nothing more stupid than concreting over Pukekohe growing lands. There was an article the other day where someone said, we might not be able to import enough to supply. Import?! I could not help thinking that anyone thinks that importing lettuces is a credible alternative to growing them locally. Truly if it is allowed to happen I think we should all march ourselves to the loony bin.

Well said PocketAces. Just madness. Auckland is already huge for its population. I know people argue that defining boundaries have contributed to land prices going crazy. But why should the answer to unaffordable Auckland houses should be cancerous urban spread of Auckland? Auckland needs a little more intensification. And this will happen (and is happening) already. Houses on sections will be replaced with apartments and terraced houses.
Living in a major city is saying good buy to live in a big house on a big section pretty much globally (except for the 5% richest or something).

"We have a finite environment – the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist."

Sir David Attenborough

I wouldn't be surprised to see irrigation back on the table for the farmers, but I suspect this may be more about brownfield residential intensification in Auckland. They will be working out how far they can push existing National NIMBY voters like me without changing loyalties and attract swing voters by giving them the prospect of living close to work.

Tired and rehashed milleniallist luddite bunkum. You ignore rapidly improving technology, all you need is sunlight and (not much) water. If we needed to we could now grow all the food the world needs in LED lit skyscrapers powered by PV, or in a garage sized room powered by roof PV in your house. It would be more expensive, but we could afford it if we had no other options, and would use almost no land other than for PV fields (which can be floated at sea if needed). The reason we don't is there are much cheaper options.

There are truly vast capacity to produce more food on our planet if we want to using more intensive and technological agricultural practices like hydroponics and desalination - eg mostly empty australia and sahara could be farmed with desalinated water and drip irrigation like in Israel if the produce price went up sufficiently to justify it. By themselves these areas could support many times the current population of the world.

NZ's intensive dairying is producing huge tracts of high-value horticultural land through addition of about 10mm of rich topsoil per year.

Never heard so much hogwash in years. What are you proposing powers this desalination (currently it's coal), what pipleines, what evapo-transpiration rates (in CC- affected Australia) ? Nutrient source?

Hydroponics are like 3D printers - they need feedstock. And energy is a closed equation - you'd have to put the same energy into the LED'S that you put into your tummy, later, or add equivalent nutrient to the growing medium which all makes it's way to you.. And there's always a loss in the process - low-grade heat usually. How many petajoules of grid-power you proposing to add? It'd have to equate to the sunlight falling on all the market gardenry.....

PV? I live on it, but only to power my LED's and only to read by. There isn't the mineral resource stock on the planet to do PV to replace Fossil Fuels, let alone to replace sunlit market gardens and paddy-fields. Sorry, but the increasing refugee-streams belie your dream-world.

Then soil - https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/04/19/105618/billion-dollar-soils-washin...

And dairying is doing what it is doing (even if it was a soil addition) using fossil fuels at the rate of 10 calories oil to one calorie of food (an optimistic claim, in my opinion, but we'll go with it). So it's energy-backed from a finite source anyway.

So many folk make wild-card claims - usually to justify keeping on keeping on. Like those who think technology can either save us, or can replace things like physical resources, or can solve the energy dilemma. We need to have moved on from that stuff

Oh - I forgot - Israel - they've displaced six million Palestinians (I heard one speak recently). They have the keys to the doors of the houses they'll never be allowed to see again. It's a concentration-camp - six million is an ironic number, eh?. And, of course, even having diverted all the water for their own use, the Jordan still doesn't make it to the sea.

There never was and never will be a shortage of energy.

The UK alone has sufficient spent uranium U238 to provide all it’s energy needs for 50,000 years using modern breeder technology reactors.

Thorium breeders will expand the available energy supply by many orders of magnitude again.

What we have is a shortage of human intelligence to accept nuclear technology as a safe secure base load power source.

The simple facts are that no one has ever been killed in the western world by a nuke yet we accept around 50,000 per annum killed by coal fired emissions.

China with its massive commitment to nukes will lead the way with new technology molten salt reactors providing heat for desalinisation process heat and power generation for the simple reason they don’t waste their time listening to uninformed nutters who wouldn’t know a half life from an isotope.

Democracies give these people a totally disproportionate input into decisions about which most don’t have a clue.

So we have sufficient energy to generate all the food we could ever need - what we lack is the willpower to use these sources intelligently.

"Welcome to the future of farming, Sundrop Farms style, where a scientifically thought-out recipe of sunlight and seawater is used to produce a whopping 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year, valued at more than $100 million, for one of the nation’s biggest retail chains.

The $200 million project, which has created 220 jobs, is as complex as it is grand.

It involves about 2.8 million litres of seawater being pumped each day from the nearby Spencer Gulf into the 127m boiler tower, which in turn is fuelled by the reflection of the sun’s rays on to more than 23,000 mirrors.

The boiler generates steam to heat 20 hectares of greenhouses, with the steam then cooled to create irrigation water for the crops. Seawater is also used in the ventilation system to clean and sterilise the air, with the theory being that crops could be grown without the need for chemicals to control pests.

Marafiote says from planting to harvest takes about 10-12 weeks, with the crops harvested weekly by hand, after which the process becomes “quite automated”.

Robotic carts take the fruit away and feed it through a state-of-the-art packing facility.

From there, truckloads of tomatoes go out every day to Coles distribution centres across Australia. In the middle of summer, in peak production, between 15,000 and 20,000 5kg cases of fruit — roughly 75 tonnes — are shipped out every day.

Port Augusta is Sundrop Farms’ first commercial facility and has been followed by similar facilities at Odemira in Portugal (which was completed last year) and Tennessee in the US. Marafiote says while the company has a head office in London, each operation “acts in its own right, we work as a pretty tight team”.


No way.

This stinks of technological innovation.
That cannot fit into PDK's model of the world!
Only fossil fuels exist! And when they are physically exhausted in 10 years (note: not economically exhausted, because that is also not a legitimate determinant of extraction) we will have no energy sources, whatsoever.

Indeed Nymad - if it takes more energy to produce energy, than the net energy gained in the process, no dollar figure is enough to help. It's a net energy loss, and neither physics, not mother nature, nor I, give a toss how many dollars you throw at that, it's still a loss. Capital - an entirely artificial construct - is not freely interchangeable with either energy or matter. If your PhD taught you that, I'd ask for my money back. I do concede that if you can prove to me that dollar notes can pass through a fuel-injector, burn and be EROEI-positive, it might be possible for capital to displace energy. Until then.....

Second, have you totalled up the energy and material in the prototype? Try scaling that. It's a comforting dream. Better we reduce population to 2 billion or so, stop the Anthropocene before we can't (if indeed it's not too late) and get real. This is like those dreamers who confidently speak of colonising Mars. Ask them to live in the desert and they'd baulk in a second - even though it's got our kind of gravity and oxygen....

In energy terms, fossil fuels are used 10 calories to one of food, now. How many in that proposal? It's so convoluted it's got to be negative.



EROEI for various sources.
No net energy loss in any of them.

Good on you for looking. I never said they were, what I said was that at negative EROEI'S we won't do it.


And I say we don't run BAU below about 8:1 - which is why I think we're seeing debt outpacing GDP (betting is getting ahead of real work done - but if you get your head around that, I'd be interested in the rebuttal).

Practical ramifications are things like electric aircraft - mostly artists' impressions, note, always an alarm-trigger! They have to cart the battery weight all the way, they don't lighten as they flatten. Plus which they're not as energy-dense (fossil fuel burning has the unbeatable advantage of one ingredient - oxygen - being available everywhere without cartage) so, like the in-the-boot CNG/LPG tanks of our past, they take up more of the luggage space. So the charging would have to be enormously cheap - and available, to make the less-capable planes viable. But currently :) global electricity is more than 50% fossil-fuelled; more efficiently burned onboard without the transmission/charging losses.........

So it goes. There's no free lunch.

So Yucca Mountain is sorted? Your info must be more up-to-date than mine.

It still only does electricity, though. And you'd have to crash-build; I listened to a German organiser of their grid re-shuffle - can away thinking 'too little too late'. Granted, folk like Tim Flannery grasp Nuclear as an alternative. I tend to think the legacy is too much to ask of future generations.


.."and ready for the perfect mix of nutrients to be added"

How many tonnes of what, from where?

Yes PDK farms export nutrients. In this case, as you highlight, the perfect mix is added. Rather the than the imperfect mix with traditional systems.

you failed to answer the tonnage question - to which I'll add the distance one.

I'm sure you can find that out for yourself PDK. Hydroponically grown tomatoes have been around for a while. Jump onto Google Earth for the distances for the Odemira and Tennessee facilities too if it turns your dial. What is the EROEI of split hairs these days?

In-correct, (though yes actually going thorium is a better way) as you miss the problem of exponential growth.

There is the second thing, affordability of that energy. Lets say even if your opinion on food & energy is correct (it isnt) it still does not allow for what ppl can afford to "pay".

Thanks to National we've been rewarding people from cultures that can't keep their population numbers under control. Rather than leaving these countries to sort out their problems we've allowed them to overflow over here.

Thanks to Labour we've been paying dysfunctional people to have kids for cash. You can get about $1000 a week from benefits and WFF credits if you have six kids. No need to pay for tertiary education or commute to work.

Then just outside of NZ you've got the Chinese removing the one child policy and trying to set up a military base in Vanuatu. Looks like they want to pull a Pearl Harbor 2.0 so their population can expand here.

We just need some money to tackle the environment. If we grow our GDP we can tackle these issues.

First and foremost its population. We are at the stage that using 10% less per capita is no comparison to using 100% less because there is no capita.

Neither will really happen IMHO.

I wish someone would mention the RMA is about resource management , not land supply .
Edit , I now see Powerdown kiwi has.

"Hey guys, Soimon here. Sorry it took us 8 out of our 9 years in power to reform the RMA. It's still a bit shit but don't you worry, i'm going to put down my drum sticks and get cracking onto a brand new RMA bill. Here's to another 8 years, cheers!"

Making land is a dangerous business. Just look at Hawai'i. Making land available is another issue, and like most interpretations from our state departments and local governments, is inappropriately outdated, costly, time consuming, frustrating, riddled with pot holes and wide open to any form of litigation you can imagine.
Central and regional governments management practices are sadly still stuck in the 20th Century (some might say 19th) which when you combine with laws that contradict each other depending on where you are sitting, all makes for a fumbling, bumbling and stumbling showcase, that, if it wasn't so dysfunctional could be made into a TV drama series (with lots of murders) or, my preferred option, a comedy.
PS: Where have all the comedies gone by the way?

We should never have gone metric. I used to have a 10 acres, now its only 4 hectares. And they wonder why the land prices are so high .

Metric was intentional. They tried inninetional but it never caught on

National are 9 years too late and a dollar short. Sit your ass down Simon and shut your mouth. The National party is host to a bunch of dead wood.

Exactly. Tired tired rhetoric. They will be in opposition a while if they keep this up

“Promise. Win. Fail. Apologise”. It’s the first thing I’ve heard David Seymour say that makes sense.