Winston Peters has accused National of giving in to brown-mail in his ‘State of the Nation’ speech today. He takes the Government to task for abandoning democracy in favour of unelected tribal elites through its Resource Management Act reforms.
These reforms were supposed to help cut resource consent red tape that has been strangling the housing market but instead has replaced it with a mountain of brown duct tape.
Peters said the Maori Party is "brown-mailing" National over the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act.
"It is obvious that National have been brown-mailed into making policy concessions to the Maori Party that doesn't even get one percent of the vote."
"We say that these changes are a signal flare to the entire country that two parties are taking us down the track of separatism again. We are no longer one people, we are moving towards two separate groups with separate rights."
The RMA Amendment Bill looks like a new and accelerated pathway for iwi to become joint or full resource management consulting authorities, particularly for the control of water and other natural resources in their area.
This would be a huge backward step. As I said in the House speaking on the first reading of this Bill, the requirement to consult with iwi adds another third party to be consulted when anybody wishes to develop their property.
The ACT Party has consistently opposed co-governance arrangements. They are undemocratic, liable to corruption over time as they create opportunity to block and hold up sensible developments, and they lock in place traditional structures that might have had some logic a hundred years ago, but are hopelessly inappropriate in a largely fully integrated multicultural country in the 21st century.
Pro-democracy group, Democracy Action, says Winston Peters’ highlighting of the National and Maori Party’s proposed Resource Management Act reform, which provides a pathway for iwi to become consenting authorities, should be a wake-up call to New Zealanders who believe in our democratic institutions, and equality under the law. Democracy Action Chairman, Lee Short, says:
“What National has agreed to with the Maori Party creates a pathway to a parallel iwi consenting process whereby unelected bodies could determine resource allocation and impose conditions on development.”
“RMA processes should be about sensible development, protecting the environment, and democratic decision making, not about developing various forms of undemocratic joint consenting arrangements between locally elected councils and iwi bodies.”
“So far this deal between National and the Maori Party has largely remained behind closed doors. We welcome Mr Peters' bringing these controversial provisions to the public’s attention. The National Party promised less bureaucracy, and a streamlining of the resource consent process. Instead, by providing for greater iwi participation in planning and consenting decisions at various points, the Bill introduces measures at odds with this intention."
BUSINESS, PROPERTY AND PLANNING GROUPS SHOULD SUPPORT PETERS ON RMA REFORM
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on business, property and planning industry groups to support Winston Peters’ proposed way forward for Resource Management Act reform. Reacting to Mr Peters’ state of the nation speech delivered last night, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says:
“In our report on the Auckland Council’s mana whenua provisions, we exposed the extent to which Auckland Council now require costly iwi consultation on matters entirely of Maori spiritual or make-believe factors. It appears that Mr Peters wants to curtail the Maori Party’s radical proposals for separate iwi consenting bodies which would spread similar requirements throughout the country.”
“If there is anyone that can stand up to the trend toward race-based rights under the RMA it is Mr Peters. Groups who have been pushing for sensible reform of the RMA should welcome Mr Peters’ comments and be relieved that John Key now appears to have a sensible way forward without the Maori Party’s rent-seeking concessions.”
National are supposed to be the party of free markets and upholding democratic freedoms. By abandoning its governance role and handing it over to unelected and undemocratic tribal elites through its RMA reforms it has done the opposite.
National is in danger of estranging its voter base with its policies of appeasement. Disgruntled supporters might see no alternative but to turn to NZ First as the only party that will re-assert traditional Kiwis values of fair play and a level playing field where all are treated equally.