from the Taxpayers’ Union

Over the last few months, we have been swamped with messages about David Parker’s undemocratic replacement to the Resource Management Act that would see unaccountable, co-governed Central Planning Committees dictate what you can do with your house, your farm, and your business.

Last Friday we launched our campaign Hands Off Our Homes: Stop Central Planning Committees campaign – the most important yet.

We are asking for one minute of your time to sign our petition against David Parker’s planning power grab.

If you thought Three Waters was bad, wait til you see this… While Three Waters was about taking local control away from community assets, these latest reforms come after your private property. The Government is proposing to replace the Resource Management Act (RMA) with three new bills.

Here at the Taxpayers’ Union, we are no fans of the RMA, which has driven a housing and infrastructure crisis, but David Parker’s proposed replacement is much, much worse.

Like Three Waters, the Government’s plans will see powers – this time over planning – stripped from your local council and handed over to 15 co-governed, unaccountable ‘Regional Planning Committees’ that will centralise decision making over the planning rules for houses, businesses, farms and the environment.

Here’s why Central Planning Committees must be defeated
These new proposals are complicated and confusing – perhaps deliberately so. We’ve built a campaign website that sets out the key information New Zealanders need to know. We have also published a briefing paper on the Government’s plans so that you can be armed with the facts.

✖️ No Local Control

The new Central Planning Committees will undermine local democratic accountability. Your local council may only have a single representative on a Committee of 20 or more. For example, decisions on a new housing development in Waitaki may be taken by a Committee in Christchurch on which there is only one representative from Waitaki or decisions about geothermal projects in Taupo may be taken far away in Hamilton. The plans produced by these Committees must also comply with a “National Planning Framework” as dictated by a Minister sitting in the Beehive.

✖️ More ‘Co-governance‘ [as you would expect —Eds]

A minimum of two unelected iwi and hapū representatives will be on each Committee, but a recent Waitangi Tribunal report stated that “all the claimants… agreed that the composition of the committees should be on a co-governance 50:50 basis.”

A new National Māori Entity will be established to ensure anyone acting under these new laws, including the Environment Court complies with Treaty principles. The Chief Justice has warned that this is “inconsistent with New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements”.

Local iwi and hapū can also issue statements on Te Oranga o te Taiao – or the natural wellbeing of the environment – to the Regional Planning Committees for which there is no provision for appeal in the proposed laws.

✖️ More Red Tape

The Central Planning Committees will be required to consider 18 contradictory ‘system objectives’ such as affordable housing, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting a variety of land uses. The bills don’t prioritise these objectives but rather gives that power to the Minister to decide. If the Minister’s prioritisation is unclear, the default requirement is to exercise caution and favour environmental protection over all other factors.

✖️ Higher Building Costs

Many of the new concepts contained within these bills are undefined and untested. They will need to be tested in the courts to establish what they mean and even when they are defined, they will give even more grounds to challenge the granting of consents. The costs of legal bills and uncertainty for developers will be passed on. On top of this, the new bureaucracy of the Central Planning Committees will have to be paid for by ratepayers despite councils having next to no control over what these Committees do and no way of opting out.

Ready to take a stand? Click here to sign our petition against David Parker’s planning power grab.>> Sign Petition <<

This is just the start

We need to do for Central Planning Committees what we did for Three Waters: Make the reforms so toxic that they become a risk to the Government’s re-election prospects. Over the coming weeks we will be ramping up the volume. With your support, our campaign will mean that every single voter will have heard of these reforms and David Parker will be wishing he never pulled this idea from the Three Waters playbook — but to do that we need your support.

By raising awareness and uniting New Zealanders against these plans, we protect our local democracy, preserve private property rights and keep such important decisions in the hands of the communities they affect.

Thank you for your support.

Jordan Williams
Executive Director
New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union