Saturday, April 8, 2017

Frank Newman: RMA reforms pass into law

Last week the National and Maori parties passed their Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms though Parliament. There was an air of arrogance from Environment Minister Nick Smith as the Bill passed through the House - knowing full well that he had the 59 National votes and a proxy for the two Maori Party votes in a 121 member Parliament.

In my view the National Party has made a strategic error in passing this unpopular amendment by making the RMA a bigger "Frankenstein".

The RMA is a disgrace. It's a racket for lawyers, self-acclaimed experts on all manner of esoteric concepts, planners, commissioners, judges, and iwi. Many of these racketeers have become rich, at the expense of inflated land and house prices, and consent applicants.

The latest RMA amendments tinker around the edges of much needed reform, but make matters much worse with respect to the need to consult "affected" parties, particularly on cultural issues. It is fair to question why culture forms part of the RMA at all. For that ideological nonsense we can blame Frankenstein's father, Sir Geoffrey Palmer. It is only included because environment is taken to be all things to all people, not just the green environment.

In my view entrenching cultural issues even deeper within the RMA as Nick Smith's amendment does, will damage National's chances of re-election. Most damaging is the manner in which the Bill was passed, and it has exposed the naked reality that National Party MPs are patsies to their ruling cabal. Let's be honest about this. The National Party backbenchers are there to make up the numbers: 59. They only represent their constituency (assuming they have one) on issues when it suits them to do so.

Under MMP there's a pretty simple equation which applies to all parties, not only National:  Toe the line or lose your job. That's not to say most MPs are not sincere about wanting to make New Zealand a better place, but the reality is they are servants to the Party hierarchy, first, second, and third.

Just last week the Greens announced a new look line-up of fresh faced millennials, who bumped some existing Members of Parliament down into unwinnable list positions. It seems in the Green Party, age and experience counts for less than youth and photogenic appeal.

Given most MPs don't actually need to do much more than warm a seat, it probably doesn’t matter much what the Green newbies think - their value is more for appearances to convince those young voters who are unlikely to vote, to vote for the Greens. They are pursuing that stage show because the Green's have finally figured out there is nothing to gain by taking votes from Labour as it takes them no closer to beating National.

In my view their young-faces strategy is unlikely to work because young people are probably as cynical about young politicians as those with wrinkles of experience. And what does age have to do with it anyway? Bernie Sanders did pretty well at attracting the youth vote in America, but then he was only 75 years young!

National’s greatest risk from the RMA reforms is the significant opportunity it gives NZ First, and if their comments in the House are to be believed they are going to take advantage of it.

In his third reading speech on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, Ron Mark said, "I want to start by making it very, very clear to the House that New Zealand First is not going to go through this election talking about bottom lines, except for this matter. We wish to make it very, very clear as a party that if any party in this House today debating this bill and voting for it, in particular, wishes to be in Government with us post 23 September, they will have to accept that we will repeal this bill."

Most commentators believe NZ First will do much better at this election than last. For a start, they are about 2-3% ahead of they were at the same time last election due to the self-mutilation of the Conservative Party. It is not unreasonable to think they could gain a further 3-5% from the protest votes of former National Party voters, who are annoyed at the Party’s arrogance and subservience to Maori interests. On those numbers, National would be reliant on NZ First to form a government.

By allowing itself to be ruled by the likes of Nick Smith, the National caucus could well find itself kowtowing to Winston Peters. The problem is can NZ First be trusted to keep his word, any more than National can be trusted to remain true to its principles?


Anonymous said...

I'll say this again: Winston is all talk.

With his Ngati Wai rellies in the home stretch with respect to negotiating their [entirely unwarranted] Treaty settlement (one of the last groups to settle), does anyone think Peters wants to be the one who derails the Gravy Train before his cuzzies get theirs?

Winnie's Matapouri bach is next to one owned by Kris McDonald, Ngati Wai's lead TOW negotiator. Does he want Krisswad in his ear every summer until one of them dies?

Probably not.

While Peters may not necessarily agree with Krisswad on many things, blood is thicker than water.

paul scott said...

it is true that until recently Race base legislation was not the top priority for NZ First.
The Housing crisis, immigration plus Health and Police were seen as forefront election issues..
But I think this has changed, and thanks to Muriel and this site, the whole democracy shambles is now public knowledge.
Gareth Morgan should be able to take something away from Labour, thereby proving his entire career is contraindicated.
People are starting to notice
Its the Maori party versus NZ First, for the tail which wags.
I pick NZ First.
Bill English, Nick Smith, Chris Finlayson and NAT are in for a hiding.

Anonymous said...

This is a good article written by Frank Newman. Unfortunately he falls into the RMA planning trap of using the work "culture" to describe only MAORI culture. The RMA does not say "Maori culture" - it says "culture". In a fair world this should include all "cultures" but the word has been hijacked by the Maori RMA gravy train, and planners have gone along with it, and now the word "culture" is used to mean Maori culture only.

Anonymous said...

Frank forgot to add consultants to his list of doubious players in the RMA racket. In my time in as a consultant, I have seen almost all of the go from supporting RMA consent applicant to supporting the Council planners. Application documents are structured to fit "the plan" not to create the best result for the client. Their fees are excessive and the material is simply a regurgitation of the local plan. Among the worse aspects is the trend to support planners interpretation of the rules. This can result in the opposite outcome that a client could expect given normal terms of interpretation. Consultants do not challenge planners as they planners specificly recommend consultants to applicants as being "approved".
Nick Smith's Bill will eventually put National out of their present tenuous control of Parliament.

RossBaker ONZF said...

This will be the test of whether our new Governor General, Dame Pasty Reddy is "publicly neutral and impartial” when she is presented with the RMA Bill to grants its Royal Assent for it to become an Act of Parliament.
Some constitutional lawyers, such as Professor Philip Joseph, believes the Governor-General retains the power to refuse to grant a Royal Assent, especially if the Bill is based on false information or apartheid legislation, as in this case. Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, 17th Governor-General of New Zealand and former Judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal, who served in the second half of the 1990s. “The fundamental thing …is that the Governor-General has the responsibility to ensure the continuity and legitimacy of government … and to do that effectively it is crucial that he or she be, and be seen to be, publicly neutral and impartial.”
This Bill is NOT "publicly neutral and impartial" and is NOT what our ancestor intended when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 or Queen Victoria intended when she issued New Zealand its first Royal Charter and Constitution in 1840 which has been completely ignore by Government and Te Papa.
Google, New Zealand's Royal Charter of 1840 for further details.

Tony said...

To Nick SMITH, Bill ENGLISH, Chris FINLAYSON -(and the National Party) in my opinion you have sold YOUR SOUL to the devil.

New Zealanders are tired of race based policies/law.

I and most of my associates won't be voting National this September.

I like Winston and if he gets to wag the dog from the tail and repeal this RMA to remove race based portions then i am for NZ First.

Peter said...

In addition to Ross Baker's comment it is important to know where the Governor General stands on this issue. At her swearing-in ceremony at Government House on 28 September 2016 the new Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy made the following statement:
“I will respect and honour the unique partnership between the Crown and Maori as enshrined in our founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi).”
In doing so she has shown extreme lack of knowledge of the original wording and intent of the Treaty and thereby introduces a racial bias that is irresponsible and inappropriate for her role as the representative of the Queen.
Under the roles outlined above it is judicially, constitutionally and logically impossible for the Sovereign to be in ‘partnership’ with her subjects.

Anonymous said...

For of us who are in touch with this agenda it is very easy to see why Palmer had the charge of treason written out of our statutes. as of now he would be able to be indicted on this charge. and with him would also be nick Smith. time they were put up against the wall.