(National Party media release)

The Infrastructure Commission’s report on the Government’s RMA reforms should be immediately released to the Environment Committee considering the new laws and not kept secret, National’s RMA Reform and Urban Development spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The Infrastructure Commission was set up in 2019 with cross-party support to provide expertise and advocate for the delivery of infrastructure in New Zealand.

“But ministers have muzzled it by instructing the Commission not to submit to the Environment Committee on the proposed new RMA laws.

“Members of Parliament have been puzzled that the Commission submitted on the earlier drafts but haven’t submitted to the Committee considering the new laws.

“The Commission told the Finance and Expenditure Committee today that it had commissioned a second report from an external agency on the reforms – so why hasn’t it been sent to the Environment Committee so MPs can use it to inform their work on the reforms?

“The Commission said this morning they’d had “conversations” with ministers about submitting but decided not to.

“The inevitable conclusion is that the Commission’s external advice is that the RMA reforms are a disaster, and to avoid embarrassment the Government has told the Commission not to submit to the committee.

“This is a disgraceful degradation of what is ostensibly an independent public sector agency.

“The Commission was specifically set up to be an impartial advocate for the effective delivery of infrastructure, but ministers have muzzled it because their RMA reforms are falling apart.”