Tag: John Key

Key to Look at the RMA Reforms

Reaching Out

 

From Scoop Business Desk

Key confirms review of most contentious RMA reforms

Key confirms review of most contentious RMA reforms

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 6 (BusinessDesk) – Prime Minister John Key has made his most explicit comments since the election that contentious reforms to the Resource Management Act will be reviewed and may not proceed.

Key appointed Nick Smith to the environment portfolio in his new ministry announcement today, returning him to a role previously held by Amy Adams.

Speaking to BusinessDesk after the Cabinet announcement today, Key said he expected Smith to “go away and have a very good look at” proposals to reform the RMA, which would have led to the merging of two crucial clauses, Sections 6 and 7. These clauses define the “sustainable management” principle in Section 5 of the RMA. Adams had led proposals to collapse the two interpretive clauses into one and to add economic development elements that would balance up environmental considerations.

Environmental groups and opposition parties were alarmed by the proposals, which stalled in the last Parliament after the United Future and Maori parties refused to back them. While the National party could count on the one vote available from the Act party to pass the proposals in the new Parliament, Key is signalling a willingness to hear alternative approaches, making good on commitments he made to environmental lobby leaders before the Sept. 20 election.

“The concern that the environmental agencies and lobby groups have made is a real concern about that merger of 6 and 7,” said Key. “The question is: do you need to merge 6 and 7 to deliver the outcomes that you want? There’s quite a mixture of views. Some people think it’s actually quite possible for us to not merge 6 and 7, allay some of the concerns of the environmental groups, and still deliver.”

Greater use of National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards, which are already provided for in the existing RMA, is being proposed as a simpler alternative. It would also avoid the potential for years of litigation to establish new case law around substantially changed RMA purposes clauses.

Key also outlined two further issues requiring Smith’s attention, saying a sunset clause in existing Special Housing Area legislation needed to be “embedded in the RMA”, and that there was an as yet unpublicised issue relating to industrial land that needed resolving.

“I’d expect Nick to go and have a look at his whole building and construction portfolio and see how that ties in ultimately with the RMA reform,” Key said. “He’ll obviously go and talk to the other interested groups on both sides, from business right through to the environment, and see how that looks.”

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Source and full article: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1410/S00187/key-confirms-review-of-most-contentious-rma-reforms.htm

 

I was talking to Green MP Julie Ann-Genter around the Section 6 reforms of the Resource Management Act to which Ms Genter stated that the Government could look around the National Policy Statements, and National Environment Standards rather than gutting Section 6 (and 7).

Well it seems the Government might just be doing that in embarking on the NPS and NES fronts with the RMA reforms.

It will be interesting to see how Key plans to go down this road. It will be a legacy for him but whether a good or bad legacy depends how Key pulls the RMA reforms off. Also it will be interesting to see if the RMA reforms affect the Unitary Plan Hearings and results in any way as well.

 

The Prime Minister on the Next Three Years

Well Make That Six

 

Last night John Campbell on Campbell Live gave a full show length interview with re-elected Prime Minister John Key.

An extract of the interview below:

John Key’s outlook, goals for the next three years

Monday 22 Sep 2014 8:38 p.m.

Just 48 hours after New Zealand’s general election, John Key sat down with John Campbell in Wellington after he was elected for another three years as Prime Minister.

“I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders” was a quote from Mr Key’s acceptance speech that stood out for many.

“I wrote the speech that was delivered on Saturday night because I wanted them to be my words and it was how I felt,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says he believes he has made a difference over the past six years, though he knows he has his critics.

“There will be some New Zealanders who say, ‘Well, he may have made a difference, but not positively to my life.”

To them Mr Key says “[We in National] have certainly tried our best to do that”.

But he knows he must now carve his legacy.

“Helen Clarke will be remembered for the Cullen Fund or the Working For Families,” he says. “If it all ends on Saturday night, I would like to be remembered for leadership around the Christchurch earthquakes and [getting through] the global financial crisis.”

Robert Muldoon’s ambition, “to leave the country in no worse shape than I found it”, Mr Key describes as having an incredibly low ambition.

“I want to leave the country in better shape than I found it,” he says.

……

He also wants to harness some of the lessons learned from the campaign to improve the next three years, and look at what poor voter turnout says about New Zealanders.

“I think something people think that their individual vote won’t influence anything,” says Mr Key. “Nationally, if you look at the trend [of voting] it’s reducing, which is very sad.”

He sees the drop in turnout as especially bad for democracy, as it “means that people aren’t quite as engaged as they should be or they don’t believe that their political leaders can make a difference when they absolutely can”.

Mr Key was quick to brush off criticism surrounding New Zealand’s growing housing crisis, saying housing will always be a struggle in New Zealand.

“Everyone borrows too much, spends too much and has higher expectation than they can deliver for their first home.

“But you can get people in their [first home] and I actually do think that Homestart as a programme is good because it’s highly efficient,” say Mr Key. “You can literally go into Homestart, be with your partner in KiwiSaver for five years and pull out what’s going to be the better part of a $50,000 deposit.”

He believes the Government’s job is to get on top of the land release and the building sector.

Read more (and see the video): http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/keys-outlook-goals-for-the-next-three-years-2014092220#ixzz3E59F2e00

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What I found from the interview was a couple of things.

First was the Prime Minister’s composure in spelling out his vision while for three years it could easily go down for six years – that elusive fourth term which only National’s Holyoake did from 1960-1972 (NZ’s Golden Years). That vision looked of one that will portray the Common Good (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_good) which also encompasses Social Liberalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_liberalism). Now given Key leads a Centre Right Government that would naturally dabble more in Neo Conservatism and Neo Liberalism it will be interesting to see if he does reach over the Centre and towards the Left where Social Liberalism and the Common Good naturally sit.

Given the first third of the interview and most likely the Prime Minister’s talks with Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English I do expect a Centre Right agenda to go through. HOWEVER; if Key and English are looking at that lasting legacy and want that fourth term then something tells me that the Government will sit around the Centre and reach both directions left and right and whether that will be tempered by conservatism

It will be interesting when Budget 2015 comes around to see which way the Government will swing. For the rest of the interview it descended into a confusing buggers muddle apart from the housing section which the Government is looking at more Special Housing Areas and reforms to the Resource Management Act. Both to be controversial and large changes.

 

As for the opposition? Well we don’t have one at the moment unless they can unite and get their collective acts together.

The next three if not six years got interesting indeed.

 

Prime Minister Endorses Sky Path

National Warm on Skypath

 

http://getacross.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/skypath.png

The Prime Minister, and Mayor Len Brown opened the Grafton Gully Cycleway this morning.

While I was not there I have seen plenty of photos of the event (when Spark does not keep dropping my internet out). One thing that caught my attention was this:

The Prime Minister has endorsed Skypath which is better than the two North Shore National Electorate MP’s as well as Ward Councillor George Wood who all seem to be trying to throw spanners into Skypath’s progress

I asked what did it mean when the PM endorsed Skypath and it was said:

 

So nothing full committal but if National gets their Third Term the Government might via NZTA give some assistance in getting Skypath built. That is fine whether the Government fully funds it or sticks with the Public Private Partnership which means a toll, I am not particular fussed.

But good to see the PM come out and have a ride down the Cycleway after which he gave a warm response to Skypath.

 

As they say: “Good things take time”

 

Accelerated Transport Package Under Way

Sod Turned on first accelerated transport projects

 

The Prime Minister along with other dignitaries today turned the first sod up on the North Shore for the accelerated transport projects announced in June this year.

From Voxy:

Accelerated package of Auckland Transport projects

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013 – 08:46

A sod turning today by Prime Minister John Key to celebrate a construction start on a project linking the Upper Harbour Highway to the Northern Motorway signals what promises be an action-packed few years to get on top of Auckland’s crucial transport infrastructure needs.

In an event billed as the start of an accelerated package of Auckland transport improvements, the Prime Minister is scheduled to launch the first of a group of projects he confirmed in his “Backing Auckland” speech in June

The project launched today involves building a motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive, upgrading the Greville Road interchange and improving the Northern Busway.

Welcoming the accelerated programme, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum Michael Barnett said he anticipated other critical projects commencing soon, including reducing delays on the State Highway 20A route to Auckland Airport at the Kirkbride Intersection, and widen the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura.

“We also need to see action as soon as possible on the next generation of major projects the Prime Minister confirmed in June, especially the East-West Link and Central Rail Link,” said Mr Barnett.

An early start to the east-west link between the south western motorway at Onehunga and southern motorway at Mt Wellington on the northern shore of Manukau Harbour is critical, he said. “After the central city this is Auckland’s second highest area of employment. Congestion is already bad enough. But with the economy improving and other freight and warehouse businesses setting up in the Southdown area, the project needs to be progressed with speed and urgency.

Source: http://www.voxy.co.nz/business/accelerated-package-auckland-transport-projects/5/177634

You can read the full speech over at Voxy

 

Some of the accelerated projects are controversial (East-West Link) while others are very much needed (CRL and widening the Southern Motorway between Papakura and Manukau).

Still I note Barnett’s comments about the East-West Link and the drive behind that. I would approach the East-West Link with caution owing to potential land-use changes over the next 30 years. As noted previously by Councillor Bill Cashmore there is a real chance heavy industry and large-scale logistic firms could be forced south by natural land-use change towards residential, commercial and some light industry. We already are seeing that at the west end of Onehunga with the Onehunga Special Housing Area flipping light industry over to Mixed Use (residential and commercial).

 

More on this as information dribbles out over the next six months.