The iwi participation clauses included in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill show that Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith has put his desire not to work with NZ First leader Winston Peters above sound legislation, Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Casey Costello said today.
The iwi clauses, inserted to get the support of the Maori Party, have a number of problems that Nick Smith appears unable to comprehend.
- The iwi clauses would virtually entrench co-governance and partnership obligations with some Maori into local government, creating an under-the-radar constitutional change.
- These sections contravene basic principles of the rule of law, they conflict with our basic democratic principles, and they are inherently racist.
- These sections create legal uncertainty, and precursors of such arrangements linked to the Auckland Maori Statutory Board has led to conflict and litigation.
- The sections weaken individual property rights, as we have seen in Auckland with the requirement for “cultural impact assessments”, and reduce the rights of councils in dealing with council property.
- With powerful and self-interested tribal bodies at the heart of resource management, as prescribed by the iwi participation arrangements, iwi would become one of the potentially venal interests that the system should guard against.
- The proposed sections would give tribal bodies critical advantages of exclusive prior notice, as well as direct input and discussion, while nothing is proposed to protect non-iwi citizens against the abuse of these privileges.
“One of the key drivers to the review of the RMA was to deliver a reduction in the bureaucracy and costs associated with development of land and effective use of resources,” Casey Costello said.
“At a time where housing is such a critical issue for all New Zealanders, these clauses will achieve exactly the opposite of what was intended in RMA reform by slowing the process, complicating the decision making and increasing cost,” she said.
Mr Peters had offered to support the National Party to reform the burdensome Resource Management Act on the condition that iwi clauses were dumped but the National Party refused to co-operate.