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Rural communities desperate for reprieve from government regulation pile on

Jamie McFadden

Rural communities desperate for reprieve from government regulation pile on

Groundswell NZ has presented to Parliament’s Environment Select Committee on the Natural and Built Environment Bill urging the Government to reprioritise its environment work programme. A major overhaul is needed to bring protection of the environment in alignment with the realities of farming, landownership, and rural communities.

Current environmental policies are having detrimental impacts on the environment and this would be made worse if the NBE Bill and Spatial Planning Act were progressed in their current form.

“A complete halt of all environmental legislation is necessary so that the Government can take stock of the substantial mix of siloed legislation and regulations that have been piled one after the other on landowners to a degree that is not sustainable financially or mentally," Groundswell co-founder Bryce McKenzie says.

“The addition of any further impractical legislation and regulations will result in a major hit to morale in rural communities. These communities are already under huge pressure. They are fragile to the point of collapse."

“Cyclone Gabrielle reinforced what we already knew; how ill-conceived and short-sighted centralised policies, developed in silos, can have devastating impacts on people and our environment and the importance of critical infrastructure, particularly in protecting people, and property, from climatic and natural disasters," Groundswell NZ environmental spokesperson Jamie McFadden says.

“We fully support the concerns raised by Southland Federated Farmers about the gravel build up in rivers and the difficulty obtaining consents. It is a nationwide problem exacerbated by draconian freshwater legislation that doesn’t consider the implications of its regulations in the event of serious flooding."

"Again we draw attention to the Government incentives which are driving land-use change from farms to pine forestry as another example where Government policies are inadvertently harming the environment."

“The Government needs a complete rethink of its priorities and how it approaches environmental legislation.”

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