At Monday’s Environment Select Committee, Labour and Green Party members voted down a proposal from ACT MP Simon Court to include a definition of mātauranga Māori in the Natural and Built Environment Bill (NBE Bill), one of the two Bills which replace the RMA.
“Mātauranga Māori is a central element of the NBE Bill. It is something that Councils must take account of when considering development proposals, but how do you take account of something when you don’t know what it means?” Asks ACT Environment Spokesperson, Simon Court.
“The answer is that Councils will have to spend eons of time and oodles of money on consultants in order to come up with a definition of mātauranga Māori. Even then, they will still be open to challenge by any group which disagrees with that definition, leaving it up to the Courts to decide.
“This Bill is meant to enable ‘a significant improvement in housing supply, affordability and choice, and timely provision of appropriate infrastructure, including social infrastructure.’
“By creating this uncertainty within the bill, the Government has created a situation which will leave developers and Councils open to never ending legal challenges, as opponents seek to exploit this uncertainty.
“It is a recipe for delay, obfuscation and chaos, and the only people who will benefit are lawyers.