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Guest Editorial

Short comings of the RMA

Second part of actual letter sent by Malcolm to Simon Upton, Commissioner for the Environment
 |  Malcolm Campbell  | 

Dear Simon,

I am back from rushing to move my livestock. However, they are still alive; not like the insects, birds, amphibians, fish and especially the ducks, eels and even an Australian couple where their deaths can be traced back to manmade poisons.

As you will be well aware, regarding the Resource Management Act (RMA) Section 5, the purpose of the Act is to “Safeguard the Life Supporting Capacity of the Air, Soil, Water and Eco Systems, and Avoiding, Remedying or Mitigating any Adverse Effects of Activities on the Environment.”

That is a mouthful, but straightforward all the same. There is ample evidence that the ‘activity’ of spraying poison is having an adverse effect on the environment so what remedying or mitigating, is being carried out to alleviate the situation?

The Waikato Regional Council website reveals that Lakes Waikare and Whanape were in good condition until 1970 and are now described as ‘eutrophic’.

The Waikato Regional Council is still regularly poisoning both lakes. The next main reason for the RMA is to “Promote sustainable development for the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of communities now and into the future.” Promote means aid, assist, help forward (Oxford Dictionary).

Well, well, I have yet to meet a single person coming away from any council anywhere filled with joy at the encouragement they received from the council staff when applying for a ‘Resource Consent’.

However, the council staff are only applying the dictatorial controls of the RMA.

On file are a number of examples, where people applied in good faith for a ‘Consent, were never granted such and lost massive sums of money. Some applicants gave up in despair and left the country. In the purpose of the Act, it mentions “wellbeing of communities”.

Again, there appears to be a contradiction as in a decision re a ‘Resource Consent’. For some applications, ‘Independent Commissioners’ are appointed to make the decision.

Well, this sounds fine and dandy, but are these commissioners of superior intelligence, to such a degree that they know what is good for a farmer or general citizen in his or her own community?

Supposing for example, a firm would like to set up a large manufacturing complex in central Whitianga. It is going to employ say 100 people, but there will be a large number of heavy vehicle movements, some manufacturing noise and so on. Why not have a simple vote of people within five or ten kilometres of this complex? Let the local community make the decision. If Independent Commissioners make the decision to go ahead, it is 99% certain that they, the commissioners, will be nowhere within the sight or sound of this complex and may have inflicted on the community, something the community did not want.

Stressful in Wellington:

Back in Wellington Simon, I realise of course, life is fairly stressful for you in Wellington.

The downtown streets are not really safe after dark, the commuter trains run on schedule only sometimes, the bus service is worse, water pipes are leaking in copious numbers, sewers sometimes spill into the harbour and personal showers are limited to four minutes even though the City Council can find water for flower beds and the pavement. So, you have a lot on your plate in the heart of Governance in New Zealand.

This is where we look for guidance, so please look at the issues I have raised. Give it your best shot and we would appreciate your comment. The Coromandel and Waikato are waiting.