The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is a little publicised, yet very important document. It proposes reforms which will require councils to increase consultation with iwi overall and to do this earlier in plan making processes, including inviting iwi to form an Iwi Participation Arrangement. This arrangement will set out how a council will engage and consult with iwi when developing or changing plans.
Steady erosion of our fundamental democratic rights and traditions.
a) It contains nothing to reserve or protect the over-riding authority of the elected Council and its duty to all citizens and their right to equal treatment;
b) The only consistency achieved by provisions for IPAs is that local authorities must have them whereas at present many Councils have reflected their community wishes not to create race discrimination;
c) Limited notification for both plan changes would limit public participation while enhancing iwi participation. This is new. It goes against the special consultative procedures in the LGA. It will give iwi a higher special status than they currently have and more power and control than members of the public. This could bring iwi into conflict with their neighbours and other New Zealanders.
d) This legislation would significantly advance a shift in the constitutional relationship between local authorities and Mäori, and add to the steady erosion of our fundamental democratic rights and traditions. It further promotes the claim from some quarters of Maoridom that their representation in decision-making should not be on the democratic basis of one person one vote.
How to submit against the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill
We have put together a guide on how to submit against the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. There is not much time left - submissions close on 14 March 2016, so please ensure you read the following documents and make your voice known to the Committee.
1. Iwi provisions in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill
This document provides a succinct background to the iwi provisions within the Resource Amendment Bill that Democracy Action finds particularly concerning.
2. Important details about the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill
This is a guide for making submissions, and contains a number of useful links for further information about the bill and submission process.
3. Tips on making a submission to Select Committee
Useful tips on what to include in your submission, along with a template for suggested layout.
Democracy Action's submission and legal opinion
Democracy Action's submission to the Local Government and Environment Committee opposes all provisions in the Bill which give iwi preferential treatment. It seeks the withdrawal from the Bill provisions such as ‘Iwi Participation Arrangements’; the ‘Early Consultation with Iwi on Draft Plans and Policies’; and the special status awarded iwi in the ‘Streamlined Planning Process’. Such provisions discriminate. Giving one racial group a superior legal status breaches the fundamental right to equality of all citizens. The submission can be viewed below, or downloaded here.
In addition, we have also had a legal opinion prepared by our lawyers at Franks Ogilvie, which outlines the problems with this bill and proposes sensible amendments to the proposed legislation. You can download it here, or read it below.
Please see below the supporting attachments to the submission