Where’s the RMA going? Any plan beyond warm fuzzy words?
The RMA [New Zealand’s Resource Management Act 1991] has been part of our legislative framework for over 20 years. When the RMA was first passed into law, I can remember the discussions about how it was going to take 10 to 15 years for the RMA to be fully effective, as it was going to take this long to develop all the control instruments of the Act.
These control instruments were the various National and Regional Policy Statements and standards that were supposed to be put in place to provide direction.
Instead, almost 24 years on, we have a situation were the National Standards are only just starting to be developed now and regional authorities are more interested in building velodromes than they are in doing anything real for environmental management. Lip service is often paid to regulatory requirements under the Act, consultation programmes are undertaken, but the end result is a glossy document that cost tens of thousands but says and achieves nothing. The bureaucrats can however tick the box and say they have completed their statutory obligation.
It was my belief back in 1991 that the RMA was going to take some time to bed down but once everybody understood how it worked and national and regional government embraced the new tools, that we would then have a plan of where we were going and what we needed to achieve.
Sadly, this is not the case. Resource users are no wiser now as to what the plan is than they were in 1991 and the national and regional toolboxes lay empty and unused.
The only industry that has a plan is the much maligned dairy industry with its Clean Streams Accord. The argument as to the adequacy of this plan is debate for another day but why is it that this is the only part of the community that has any form of plan beyond warm fuzzy words?
One of the objectives of the New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waste Forum is to start the conversation between the industries, the regulatory authorities and the utility operators. Perhaps as an organisation, we should take the initiative and start developing the plan for trade and industrial waste. So where do you want things to be in the 2, 5 and 10 year brackets?
Written by Geoff Young, this blog was posted on the New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waste Forum 1 December 2014. Opinions expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of BPO Ltd.
Geoff Young is the Director of BPO Ltd www.bpoltd.co.nz and the Chairman of the New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waste Forum
New Zealand Trade and Industrial Waste Forum is a Group on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/groups/New-Zealand-Trade-Industrial-Waste-4484284?trk=groups_item_list_abbreviated-h-dsc&goback=%2Egna_4484284