"When the RMA becomes the basis on which Councils look to
• Take their own stance on national laws they don’t agree with or
• make rules about how big the front windows can be in our homes, or
• the placement of lounges within houses or
• whether a kid can build a tree house...
…we have to ask whether that really is the enabling, effects-based regime that was to allow almost anything to occur as long as the effects on the environment could be properly mitigated, that the original architects of the Act promised back in 1991."
The RMA has been thoroughly subverted by a noxious combination of:
- old spatial-style Town and Country Planning Act zonerators and map-squigglers. Hence the MUL's, RUB's etc which have massive economic effects but which are sacrosanct under the present regime.
- NIMBY's who, without needing to put up much in the way of actual arguments, were able until quite recent decisions re costs, to drag out the consenting process by years and years. This has led, quite inevitably, to the EPA which end-runs this nonsense by taking some decisions up and out of the clueless hands of local authorities. Not that a centralised Gubmint bureaucracy is likely to perform much better, but at least they have less spatial-planning deadweight.
- A fundamental failure to implement anything resembling the effects-based tests which should have been applied from Day 1.
It leads fairly directly to:
- 'industrial' dead zones which are an extremely inefficient use of resources (commuting, buildings used 33% of the day, security and miantenance issues)
- illegal actions (it's amazing how many suburban businesses flourish where owners have high fences, good relationships with neighbours, and quiet work habits) which does not do wonders for trust in officialdom
- a complete inability to police truly noxious activities (tinny houses, P-labs) - after all, they are breaking no Zoning laws because there isn't a Tinny House Zone on some map...so best to turn Nelson's eye...
- massive economic deadweight costs as SME's either struggle through protracted and expensive processes to achieve some minor tweak to some squiggle or zone, or just give up in disgust and reduce activity to suit the strait-jacket
YMMV, and other common taters may have different views on the reforms, but there is no doubt in my aged mind that the old RMA is a mare's nest, a fabulous feeding ground for Legal Eagles and other Birds of Prey, and needs a fundmental re-think.