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Dr Muriel Newman

Tinkering with the RMA

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earthquakecows-1As a result of last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the Government is considering emergency legislation to get Kaikoura back up and running. After visiting the hard hit region, Prime Minister John Key said, “We can’t leave people high and dry. If we need emergency legislation we’ll pass it”.

Any new law would undoubtedly be modelled on the now-repealed Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority legislation, which enabled the Government to override a large number of laws including the Resource Management Act (RMA).

If special legislation is used to suspend the RMA, it would be the fifth time in recent years that law changes have been needed to over-ride the delays it causes – the first was to get a water plan into the Canterbury region, the second to enable the Auckland Council to finalise its unitary plan, the third to support Christchurch’s rebuild, and the fourth to establish Special Housing Areas to fast-track the re-zoning of land for residential housing.

The RMA, New Zealand’s foremost environmental legislation, was the brainchild of former Labour Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer. It was passed into law by National in 1991, to replace the traditional rules-based approach of the Town and Country Planning Act, with an ‘effects-based’ regime that would allow development, just so long as adverse environmental effects were mitigated.

But the escalating costs, red tape, and delays, associated with the RMA have become such an impediment to growth, that when National was elected to Government in 2008, overhauling the law was their priority.

A two-phase process was mapped out. The first phase included establishing the Environmental Protection Authority to deal with nationally significant consents within a nine-month timeframe, removing the rules that prevented property owners trimming their own trees, shortening the timeframe for consent processing, and preventing the law being used for anti-competitive purposes.

The second phase of reform was to focus on the core problem – the need to rebalance the RMA to take into account economic growth, jobs and exports, as well as environmental effects. This was to be achieved through changes to Sections 6 and 7 of the Act, the purpose and principles.

In 2013, when the Environment Minister Amy Adams released a consultation document outlining the reform proposals, changes to Sections 6 and 7 were included. However, she was unable to secure a Parliamentary majority for the Bill, as neither United Future nor the Maori Party, would support economic development being given the same weight in law as environmental protection. With only ACT’s backing, National was one vote short and the reform programme stalled.

During the 2014 election, National again campaigned on RMA reform, with rebalancing the Act a priority, and once back in government, they wasted no time in pressing ahead.

The Environment Minister Nick Smith outlined the details of their planned reforms in a speech, in January 2015, explaining, “I want to get these reforms right and ensure we have got a balance that enables New Zealand to grow and prosper without compromising the great kiwi lifestyle. But let me equally be plain that tinkering with the RMA won’t do.”

The Minister stressed the importance of changing Sections 6 and 7 of the Act, so the effects on the environment could be weighed up against the benefits of economic growth and jobs, and he described ten reform proposals.

The first was to include the management of significant natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcanoes, in the RMA.

With around eighty percent of resource consents about urban issues, the second proposal was to recognise the urban environment in the purpose and principles of the Act.

The third was to include affordable housing in the Act, since, by constraining land supply, and by prioritising the protection of landscapes and amenity values – without any consideration of the cost, the current law has made the building of affordable housing almost impossible.

The fourth proposal was to add the provision of essential infrastructure into the purpose of the Act, to ensure transport, communication, water and energy projects are prioritised.

The fifth was to give more protection to private property rights by limiting the degree to which council officials could meddle in people’s lives – and by providing greater discretion for councils to waive the need for resource consents for minor projects.

The sixth proposal was to consolidate RMA rules across councils by requiring standardised planning templates.

With councils taking on average six years to complete their plans, the seventh reform proposal was to streamline the plan-making process.

The eighth was to foster collaborative ways of resolving resource management disputes.

The ninth was to strengthen national regulations through a greater use of National Policy Statements and National Environment Standards.

And the final proposal was to bring the RMA into the digital age.

With the support of ACT, National had a Parliamentary majority and Nick Smith planned to have his Bill drafted and introduced in the first half of the year, with a view to it being passed into law by Christmas.

However, nine days after the speech was delivered, National’s Northland MP Mike Sabin resigned, and the Party lost the seat to Winston Peters. As a result, National again needed two extra votes to pass any law through Parliament. With United Future and the Maori Party still opposed to any overhaul of the RMA that included changes to sections 6 and 7, the reforms again stalled.

That is until November of last year, when Nick Smith made the surprise announcement that he had tabled the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill in Parliament.

The Minister had done a deal with the Maori Party – in return for supporting the Bill to a Select Committee, the crucial changes to sections 6 and 7, which were central to National’s reform programme, had been dropped, and instead, new race-based co-governance powers for the Maori elite had been included.

The new Iwi Participation Agreements will require democratically elected councils to seek the approval of unelected tribal representatives in all major decision-making. Even though many councils have more than a dozen iwi claiming an interest in their areas – each will be entitled to set up their own Agreements and be individually consulted.

These Agreements will also provide an accelerated pathway for tribal groups to become resource consenting authorities for fresh water and other natural resources. By using the RMA’s Section 33 Transfer of Powers, an iwi can become a full consenting authority, or by using Section 36B, they can become a joint consenting authority with their council.

Nick Smith’s controversial Bill attracted almost 1,000 submissions to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. The concerns raised during public hearings delayed its July report back to Parliament by two-months, then another two months, until Committee Members refused further extensions and the Bill was returned to the House two weeks ago, with no changes at all.  Opposition MPs blamed the Minister’s meddling for the shambles.

With a vote needed in Parliament to get the Bill back to the Select Committee, so the work on it could be completed, Nick Smith again approached the Maori Party and, in return for their support, agreed to more concessions – this time to include Mana Whakahono a Rohe in the Bill: “The Maori Party has strongly advocated for improved iwi participation. This has been achieved through including the Mana Whakahono a Rohe/Iwi Participation Arrangement in the Bill. This enables iwi and councils to enter into agreements on how iwi can be involved in resource management processes so as to ensure their perspective is heard and understood.”

In their submission on the Bill, Ngai Tahu had recommended the inclusion of Mana Whakahono a Rohe. They said they would enable iwi to undertake “the handling of resource consent applications, notification decisions, monitoring and enforcement”. This is quite different from the way Dr Smith described their impact.

In other words, these new mechanisms that Nick Smith has included in the RMA will enable race-based vested interests to take over resource consenting from democratically elected councils. That means hapless property owners will not only be forced to consult with councils, but with multiple iwi as well. Instead of streamlining and simplifying the RMA, Nick Smith is about to make it much worse.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentary by Sir Bob Jones outlines the debacle that occurred when he was forced to consult with multiple iwi over minor changes to a building he owned. While we first published this article in 2014, in light of the fact that Nick Smith is about to inflict multiple iwi consultation requirements for resource consents onto the whole country, we are republishing it in the hope that it will force National to rethink the wisdom of what they are about to do:

“Recently, a shop tenancy changed in a modern 17-storey Auckland CBD office building owned by my company. The previous tenant had blocked off some of its window which we now intended putting back to the conventional shop front.

“We were informed by a planner my Auckland office uses for council dealings (which can be laborious) that under the new council rules, changes to a building’s appearance require resource consent and we would be subject to penalty if we simply put back the window.

“If that’s not outrageously absurd enough, things then became truly Kafkaesque.

“For we were then told that we needed RMA approval (for a new shop window, for God’s sake) – this instantly forthcoming at a cost of $4,500 plus the approval of 13 iwi.

“The council refused to advise the addresses of these iwi outfits, yet added that without their consent, we can’t put back the window.

“So the planner located then wrote to the 13 iwi, ranging from Taranaki to Whangarei.

“Five replied stating they had no concerns while others said they were considering the matter, presumably calling huis to weigh up this window crisis.

“One respondent bearing that fine old Maori name of Jeff Lee, representing something called Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki, contacted the planner.

“After advising the planners verbally that no Cultural Impact Assessment Report was required for the window, he nevertheless asked them to consider it – brace yourselves – given his ancestors, centuries ago, gathered in the vicinity.

“Lee then wrote, outlining his terms for ‘assessing the window’s cultural impact’ which, he said, would take him ‘a total of six to eight hours’.

“For this he sought $90 per hour plus GST and ‘travel expenses of 0.77c p/km.’

“At this stage we became involved and told the planners to tell Mr Lee to get stuffed. In the words of my company’s manager, a historian knowledgeable in Maori history and who speaks the language: ‘It’s a classic case of bureaucrats worried about cultural correctness without thinking through the consequences.’

“I more succinctly call it a racket.”

In 2012 Nick Smith resigned from Cabinet, telling Parliament he was guilty of two errors of judgement: “I have tendered my resignation. I do so because I made not one error of judgment but two”.

Nick Smith has now made two errors of judgement over the RMA.

In spite of acknowledging publicly that “tinkering with the RMA won’t do”, his first error of judgement was to continue “tinkering” with the law, instead of putting it on hold – as Amy Adams had done – as soon as it became clear that he couldn’t gain support for proper reform from his coalition partners.

Alternatively, he should have approached New Zealand First, who has offered to support proper RMA reform as long as all race-based provisions in the Bill are removed.

His second error of judgement was to even think that inflicting the power-grabbing demands of Iwi Leaders onto the public is the right thing to do.

The time has now come for the Prime Minister to exercise some leadership and either put Nick Smith’s Bill on hold, or alternatively take up New Zealand First’s offer for comprehensive RMA reform.

Secondly, John Key should remove Nick Smith as Minister in his January Cabinet reshuffle, since it has now become clear that his judgement cannot be trusted.


Should Nick Smith be removed as the Minister in charge of the RMA reforms?

Vote x 120

*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


No trust. Laurie
Water is far to important an issue to allow Moari to influence/control our future over this essential resource. Don
Giving into the minority and allowing this to happening. Disgusting. Melva
Time for a change! Jim
The man is a fool! Laurie
He should have been removed long ago. This government is so hell bent on being re-elected that that they will give the Maori anything in return for votes, and to hell with the consequences and the long term future of the country. They are creating a racial time bomb. Richard
Someone please tell me who is benefiting from the charges being made for emissions? Our Minister is not listening to anyone that has a dissenting viewpoint from the Climate Change Environmentalists. Where is the proof to support the future calamitous prophesies? Michael
Nick Smith has demonsrated once again that he does not have the intestinal fortitude to run a kindergarten…….. the big kids would frighten him. Seriously, these very suspect dealings with Iwi by National just highlight how desparately New Zealand needs binding referendum to help the politicians grow a pair. Ronmac
Nick Smith is intelligent. He is also a f***wit. Paul
Nick Smith should not only be removed from RMA dealings, but he has long outlived the fairly sound judgement he once had and he has become a liability. Key must show some balls and leadership over the Maori rorts manifest in Smiths’s dangerous bartering with the Maori Party. Key should forget the Maori Party/National coalition, dump them entirely and coalesce with NZ First. Key and National are continuing to bugger up the whole country for the hopelessly misguided idea of keeping Maori in the Tent. Frank
Smith was not elected to push through race based transfers of State assets to others. National will have to go, and soon. Ross
Nick Smith is obviously a patronising white politically correct twit who has never read the unadulterated version of the Treaty of Waitangi. Mitch
This man is a disgrace and his continuing inability to say NO to Maori and their unreasonable demands means we will not vote National at the next election. Roger
What a spineless bastard to cave in to a over-represented minority with too much political clout due to MMP Robert
The cost of buying two Maori votes to pass a fatally flawed bill is madness It is almost certain to cost National the next election. John
The Hobson’s Pledge campaign has said it all. We need to totally remove from New Zealand ALL race based legislation. As a country we will not achieve our full potential until we are all one. Robin
I wonder whether he really knows what he is doing. Anthony
And so should PM Key. Tom
Definitely wot he’s done has flowed over to the water issue supposedly to put any pump on yer own property which now must have a meter has to have IWI consent. Christina
Democracy! Huh, don’t think so, no consulatation an abuse of office! Steve
Again I say, maybe you should publish some of theses comments to the media! William
Of Course.Any one who advocates separatism should be removed from office but this would include John Key and more particularly Chris Finlayson who seems to be bending over backwards when it comes to Maori. Maoris were not first settlers and their inter marriage with any and all immigrant races has surely bred themselves out of existence. Peter
As long as his replacement is not out of the same mould. Absolutely fed up with all the race crap. We need another grass roots party to come and offer to sort this out.Winsto is not that party. Tim
Nick Smith needs to resign if he allows this to be actioned. NZ does not need this Mafia type, greed and corruption to continue. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. With the outrageous claims being granted, based on false claims we need a minister who will simply say NO! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, take the billions you already have and use it wisely, because there is NO MORE. Cecelia
My experience with the RMA involved 11 Iwi an a hell of amount of money! Peter
Well past his used by date and we need somebody with backbone that will act for all New Zealanders. Jim
He should be removed totally as Minister for the Destruction of the Environment or any other position . Barrie
Definitely. He would set NZ back 50 years. Christine
Should not be tolerated. John Key needs to man up,do a deal with Winston. Stuart
Time for a change! I don’t think these guys know what they are doing! Mark
Absolutely and immediately. He is a fluffer!! Doug
Smith should be shown the door…along with Key. Governor General please step in and sack the both of them. (Just as Whitlam was removed from office) Having lived in Papua New Guinea and Australia, I have seen first hand how racist policies bring nothing but grief and division. Smith is two faced and not to be trusted. How many more ‘errors of judgement’ must the country endure from this ‘waste of space’. More to the point how much more avoidance of issues (racism), tinkering and underhanded, back-room deals must we as voters endure? I guess when these two idiots become so power drunk, the name of the game is to extend their ‘reign of power’ for as long as they can….. Hence, wala…. back room deals with the biggest racists of all, the Maori Party aka the Maori elite. Anyone heard a single comment from the Human rights commissioner over these racist back-room deals??? New Zealand LETS ALL WAKE UP AND DEMAND SOME ACCOUNTABILITY FROM THESE PRATS!! Graeme
Both the Conservative Party and “100 Days’ have the right idea; – a binding CIR on dumb legislation like this! Ted
What a foolish short sighted mongrell that Nick is …goin ahead with his naieve proposal would slow down progress in this country , which should not go down the path of becoming even more third world than it has already become. Roy
Due to introducing race based legislation. Phil
Yes but who will be more balanced and objective in getting this right – Deal on terms with NZ First – we are sick of the clipboard bureaucrats and ‘interested but not affected’ parties stalling on RMA consents for their own ‘gain’. John
CC should now replace PC as the dominant national catch-phrase. There seems no end to the fleecing of the Govt. purse. Laurie
Get rid of him asap. Richard
He is not trustworthy and is a nutter. Fraser
YES WITHOUT DOUBT. What a cheek that man has. Perhaps people should read the speech given by Casy Costello concerning this Government’s push to division within NZ..It’s a brilliant speech and covers the situation perfectly. This proposed Bill causes such division and so any deals done that causes such division should not be entertained. Remove the man now. Audrey
Nick Smith like most of his colleagues is a racist idiot, why I don’t know, but we need to be rid of them ASAP. Whynlayson is another, pandering to every maori wish he has dished out millions of tax payer dollars and the only thing we have to show for it is a long line of racist maori heading to and feeding from the tax payers trough. I call it treason and if I were in charge these clowns would not be enjoying life as they have come to expect it. Stevo
Let us be very clear that the root problem here is Maori parliamentary seats. They need to be abolished before the next election. Otherwise John Key keeps the Maori party in government so the Prime Minister is the real problem. Monica
The man is an absolute disgrace and should be stood down immediately. A proper reform of the RMA is long overdue and only Winston is prepared to remove race based privilege. Steve
He has had his day and is too pig-headed and tunnel-visioned to be objective anymore. Craig
With out doubt! Brian
Quite simply we must never have any race based decision making in NZ – that is racist. Phill
He is way bout of his depth and this whole government seems hell bent on giving anything Maori want without any consultationto the NZ public. Digby
Obviously his ego and lack of awareness of the implications of his pathetic reforms on the NZ populace, have impeded his judgement. Willy
Yes, he’s a political RMA puppet living in his ‘one way glass’ castle lacking realism for all those affected by recent earthquakes. Nature has thumbed it’s nose to the RMA with vengeance tossing around and re-figuring much of New Zealand. The absurd RMA seriously restricts local’s activities – not to hurt our earth – which has already established itself far more mature than do good RMA advocates. Try returning all that shattered earth to it’s prior position Minister. Forward looking Ministers would be realistic – simply push small and massive slips ‘over the bank’ just as nature does and open obstructed access immediately thus allowing long established people and enterprises to continue normal life – accepting what nature has thrown at NZ. Push that spoil over the bank; exactly as nature would have done had a road not been there to restrict it from sliding on! Stuart
What else can I say. He is totally not capable to make decisions on these matters!! Karin
That guy should be sacked immediately and held publicly responsible for his undermining our democracy. I see only two possibilities why he acted the way he did: Either he is so reckless and does not care or think about the consequences of his stupid meddling with democratic process OR— he has been promised a handsome reward by the chiefs to bend the laws to their benefit alone. There has to be an investigation to find out what is really going on here. I cannot imagine that Nick Smith is so utterly stupid to do what he does without any consideration to the majortity of NZ citizens..So —that leaves us only with the second (a fat bribe) option. That guy has committed treason!!! and should be jailed!!!! Michael
Incompetent and out of touch with the National sentiment which is that Iwi deserve no greater voice in RMA decisions, than any other citizen. Bill
He is two faced, and on other issues as well. Needs dumping. Ian
Urgently!! Brian
It’s time for voters to give the National Party a short sharp reality check. They are not impervious.. Urban
Ignorance is no excuse for a minister who takes action on the excuse “the Treaty is our founding document”. This is not true as the Treaty was ratified by the borders of New South Wales being extended to cover “all of the islands of New Zealand”, causing us to be ruled by this State. A Court of law would assume he was aware our true founding document is Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter of 16-11-1840 which authorised our split from NSW, gave us our first constitution and English law only for all NZers regardless of race, colour or creed. George
Nick Smith is an intellectual twit. Murray
National is making some very serious errors in giving iwi unwarranted and undeserved control over environmental issues. We are getting further away from a democracy every day. Wake up National and get rid of Nick Smith. This is tolally racist and cannot be tolerated in a country claiming to be a democracy. Dale
This guy should not be in charge of anything that involves tax payers. Alan
The sooner Nick Smith goes the better for NZ as a unified country. We cannot afford to have a minister who panders to the radical objectives on 1 racial group and not take the subjective matter to a referendum to find what the people think. Nick Smith is a disaster for National. If this legislation is approved then it is goodbye National for a very large number of voters – including all our family. Brian
Who would be better? Howard
Time Neville
Stop the gravy train. Rick
The reforms he is seeking to implement are outrageous and unhelpful in the extreme. Rod
Absolutely not, he should be removed from all responsibility & placed on the back benches, where he belongs, until the next election & then compulsorily retired. He’s the cuckoo in the nest!! Denis
Race preference in NZ should be banned from all legislation. Hone
He is not listening so remove him. S
He has had too many opportunities to get this corrected, and hasn’t even come close! Hilary
He should be removed as the minister of housing also. Lorna
He should any power to Iwis’ David
The way the National Party is giving to these iwi tribes is going to cost them at the next election. Bruce
Yes Nick should be fired from involvement in RMA reforms, along with the rest of the pathetic Key Government. This sort of crap is soon to disappear when Winston gets to be in charge. Watch out John, boy are you in for a shock!! Neil
Nick Smith should be removed from parliament – full stop. He is a cancer. Kris
There should be no deals with the Maori activists like this and many other deals. There should be one rule for all. It would be better if National could link up NZ First and stop a lot of this nonsense at the next election to be able to govern without having to pander to the Maori Party. Frank
NZ 1st and Winston will be getting my vote.. and I suspect many ‘blue’ voters will do the same. Elayne
And if Winston thinks its not good, (not a Winston supporter) then National should take up his offer, (MMP) especially when the RMA law has been overridden 4 times for other projects and now with Kaikoura in a national disaster, it just goes to show what a disaster the law is, We should not have any race based policies and its fast becoming evident if iwi are legislated in we will be in a worse situation than we are now which is clearly not working. Anita
Yes, but is he being forced into race based changes to the RMA by the attorney general and prime minister pandering to their Maori party support base? Irvine
His decision is racist and yet another way to keep the Maori Party ‘onboard’. Paddi
The PM should inform the country of the RMA problem and his choices of giving control to one ethnic group or not changing the RMA. Leon
Is there not a correlation to ‘Three strikes and you are out’? This is deplorable. the Robert Jones comments say it all. Ian
Not only RMA reforms. Robin
Totally with Bob Jones and Winston on this one. God help us if Iwi are allowed to get their hands on this. I can see an Iwi surcharge charge on every drop of water whether out of the tap or used to generate power for all, additional to the fact that Maori get the same deal on these services now any way. Not to be trusted. I suspect National are going to have to deal with Winston after the next election as is so why not just do so now. Donald
Of course Nick Smith should be removed from anything to do with the RMA. But let’s not forget that he was put in this position by the Prime-minister whose views towards maori issues are no different from Smiths. Just watch how NZ First does at the next election! John
He is well past his use by date and should resign as an M.P. Barry
The fault lies with the whole system of trusting the Maori Party and needing support in Parliament. NZ First although not ideal, would be a much safer support party especially now that the clown Hone Harawira is aiming to worm his way back into parliament via the Maori Party. The best solution of all would be to rid NZ of the stupid MMP system. Chris
Clearly this Minister has lost the plot and any semblance of common sense. One can’t help but wonder if their is a WIFM factor built into his “tinkering”. Peter
Have you forgotten already what is driving this? THE WONDERFUL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AGREEMENT signed secretly by KEY & SHARPLES.. Allan
Too much pandering to racial interests, instead of doing what is best for ALL New Zealanders. Ross
Over the course of his career, Nick Smith has had an ‘about face’ in his opinions so many times that he cannot be trusted at all. Elizabeth
Incompetent fool. John
Immediately! Jim
Nick is sucking up to lobby groups like EDS. That is so wrong!!!!! Our RMA is only for Geoffrey Palmers (sorry SIR) mates to make a killing!!!! Bruce
Nick Smith should be tried for treason! ROBERT
I too have experienced this ridiculous business of having to consult iwi over simple non consequential things, it has to be changed back. Gaire
He just piles unwise decisions after unwise decisions and has made a huge mess of the whole scheme. Get rid of him and get some sane thing to sort it all out. We are all New Zealanders in the end. Laurel
If he insists upon pushing through reforms as advised it is obvious he must be removed. However, the new minister must be made aware that common sense is to prevail. Dennis
Without a doubt or delay! Bernard
He has done more to upset the country than the rest combined. Give him the boot and have done with the idiot. Benjamin
No Race based laws, IWI( I want IT), can go to hell. Don
Smith is a dangerous idiot. Geoffrey
Definitely. If we wish to maintain democracy as our principle form of governance we must make sure that all citizens have an equal say in any issues which effect their future. Peter
It’s about time ministers listened to ALL Kiwis not just a select few. Ron
Why stop with Nick Smith? Ross
Nick should have gone with Winston but he’s chosen to go with the racist Maori Party. A very bad move and it proves that he will do anything to stay in power even if it is to the detriment of the country. He should go – sooner rather than later before he does any more damage. Helen
All that education and he wastes his life wallowing with losers in the bear pit of parliament! David
Definitely! John
Nick, as in steal, Smith may look like a redneck but he is the absolute grovelling opposite. I’m a Kai Tahu kamatua and it makes me! sick this move away from meritocracy to some sort of Maoriocracy. Mervyn
Nick Smith should be removed from the face of this earth. Like Geoffry Palmer before him. They have both done their best, to remove all one people one law democracy from our government. Why do you think john key wanted, so desperately, to remove the UNION JACK from our flag? Because it represents ONE PEOPLE UNDER BRITISH LAW. Where is John Minto when these apartheid laws are being passed? A.G.R.
Nominal ownership of property without the owner’s full control, is in effect non ownership – politically known as fascism and one arm of the socialist spectrum. Is fascism unity by voluntary agreement ? – NO! It is unity by force and symbolised by the fasces. Mussolini was the father of modern fascism from which Hitler took many cues. Understand reason, freedom and property rights, firmly secure them or they will be lost for a very long time if not forever. Yes folks, better face up to it, Nick Smith is a socialist along with the government he represents. Don
He has lost the plot. Frank
This guy is known for his incompetence and arrogance but reality is he is purely representative of Keys arrogant governance .Smith should go and if not now, he will go when next year’s voters hand Key a mini brexit. Don
He has made so many stuff-ups he’s got to be an embarrassment to National, that’s an embarrassment New Zealand. Ced
I don’t really care if he removed or not .. I just want the government to make democratic decisions NOT racist one! I am definitely not voting National at next election, this is a step too far for me. Maddi
He is the most incompetent minister we have ever had, blundering from one calamity to another. Peter
Definitely, and the sooner the better. Just a waste of space! Wally
I think he is past his best before date and should retire gracefully. Its not the first contentious issue he has promulgated. Vic
I am fed up with the government fawning over the many different Iwis when it could have a partner in New Zealand First that could put this country back onto the right road to success for everyone. Bill
Going by what I have just read, he should have been removed a long time ago. Rod
Smith is clearly unable to confront and negotiate with the urban neo-liberals who are apologists and advocates for the Maori elite which wants control of all natural resources, based on spurious claims. These Luddites wish to return NZ to a pre-colonisation “utopia” – but with the internal combustion engine, modern medical science, and of course a state that is responsible for all the needs of the individual from cradle to grave. The “marriage” of Harawira and Morgan will soon make this clear, and the political agenda to achieve it will be an election platform. Andrew
With immediate effect. Peter
Yes and not before time. Athol
Just what is Smith’s doctorate in – smoke and mirrors and a bit of back scratching?? Ross
The RMA vastly intrudes on Property Rights – such that you may have a paper title to a property, but if a bureaucrat can tell you, you must obey all of their regulations and restrictions, then it is quite moot that it is indeed your property (and not theirs). Property Rights are a cornerstone of a market economy (sometimes called Capitalism). For a National government to introduce this attack was surely against their stated principles, and thus should have been repealed at the 1st chance it got. Tinkering with an atrocity does not reduce the ugliness. {I posted this comment on Frank Newman’s article – RMA rackets and mood for change; 19 November} Sir Bob in earlier writings has described fascism as the control of the outcome of production. The RMA is fascist and should have no place in NZ. Nick Smith as controller of this fascism should be booted. Peter
He’s not doing the job properly. Russell
He runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds. Get rid of him. David
Yes, what a disgusting little man he is, especially telling us that this co-governance stuff is the modern and proper way to conduct New Zealand’s future! Paul
The man’s an idiot in more ways than I can even imagine. The idea that iwi could, for their own reasons, usually financial, be the major stakeholder in any RMA decisions is stupidity in the extreme and will cost the Non-Maori citizens of new Zealand very dear.He should have been dumped a long time ago. Also, it has come to my notice that many Maori (Iwi) businesses do not pay Income tax. This is making them potentially more profitable than non-Maori businesses. In the South they are buying up several of the good Tourist Based Businesses (which used to pay tax). All businesses should pay tax. It is interesting to note that Maori businesses (who don’t pay tax) do not contribute, through taxation, to provide money for Maori beneficiaries. There IS something racial about the Maori-Iwi system and the power the status quo has over Government. It is time that a New Zealand Constitution which holds all people equal before the law is instituted. I predict a few surprises in the next election! Bill
Get shot of Nick and while Keys at it get rid of the Maori seats as well.Tell me where is Winston Peters regarding all of this.Bring on Don Brash. Ken
Unlikely to be voting for National at next election. Russell
YES – Nick has never been competent, he lacks technical knowledge and imagination! David
I thought the Govt were to make the Rma a more usable identity for the pub;ic not add obstacles like Iwi to the mix. There must be a place for Nick Smith somewhere in Parliament without allowing him the flexibility to take PC to the inth degree. He is frequently a complete duffer. Elizabeth
Nick has long passed the Peter principle crest. He should have been gone by lunch time! John
He never should have been appointed.He seems to be easily influenced and struggles to make decisions in the best interests of New Zealanders. Peter
Nick Smith must go, & National MUST stop pandering to race based policies. Alan
He has always been incompetent. Stuart
Absolutely! This is the worst case of ministerial tinkering I have witnessed. Colin
This is insane in a democracy. So called Maori have a high percentage of european blood but are “our”people when it comes to making monetary claims. This should stop right here. Edward
One Nation One Country Get rid of all this Iwi Nonsense regarding their rights to land, sea and water. They were all here long before THEY WERE. Keith
Not only Nick Smith but the whole govt should be removed as they don’t serve the people of this country. Having voted National always, but not in the next election as they have not governed in the interest of the people who have given them the mandate to govern. Frank
When is all this race based bull***t going to end. John Key you need to stand up and put an end to it now. If you think the RMA is slow and over priced now just wait until all these other extorsionists are given free range. I am fed with our weak kneed politicians but this seems to be what we get with MMP the tail wagging the dog. We were told that with MMP we would get the government we voted for but that is not so when the minor parties have the power to screw major parties. John
It’s about time John Key listened to N.Z. & we oppose giving UNELECTED IWI control which is what this bill will do. Cindy
For this act, and his part in it. The idiot should be deported. What a bloody dufus. I realise the man cannot be held responsible for his appearance, but dear god his mental processes are more of a mess than his appearances are pleasing to the eye. By the by, went to the meeting down here in Tauranga, hosted by Don Brash, for the Hobsons Pledge group. Someone should advise John Keyote that it was packed. That is, with anything other than a press rep. Methinks the protest will prove to be too much. Wiremu
I do not see the point of replacing Nick Smith as minister. With whom would he be replaced? Surely the whole National government supports special deals for Maori so a replacement would simply be substituting another leopard with a different pattern of spots; we would still have a leopard! Peter
I believe McCully is the least competent minister in the cabinet. His track record ain’t too flash. John
Definitely, the RMA needs upgrading not undermining by unelected iwi representatives influencing Councils’ decisions! Jenny
He is completely out of touch with the majority of New Zealanders. Les
An absolute disaster. Nick Smith has no right to subject all the NZ public to this type of blackmail. It is bad enough dealing with elected councils why should we have to appease non elected public. Wendy
He has become senile, and lost his power of reason. Monty
I had the same sort of problems just changing a bay window and surrounds cost amounted to around $20k. Peter
Yes the man is devious and not up front. John
It is a no-brainer !!!! Ian
No race based agendas. Barry
Absolutely. He looks shifty, and he is shifty. His response to my question re his stance on iwi control pf water was dismissive in the extreme and verged on arrogant. He is Key’s undercover hatchet man – for a PhD he has an interesting view of philosophy. Mike
Cunning Maori Dishonest National Party. Lance
The man is a complete idiot. Peter
Removed from any situation related to justice, fairness and competence. Now. John
Nick should actually be booted out of Parliament as in my opinion he has demonstrated yet again is unfit to serve. Terry
Yes, put Winston Peters on the job! He’s not afraid of anyone. Ron
The man is an idiot…get rid of him and get someone with some balls to tell IWI to take a hike. Steve
He also said this month “Our majority rule Parliament was used in the nineteenth century to unfairly confiscate Maori land.” This is a lie. We must get rid of him. Bruce
And fired from the government benches. Jan
Wanker springs to mind. Stan
All race based issues should be removed. Michael
No longer effective in this environment going forward. Ray
Who in there right mind would go down this path. NORMA
Any amendments to the RMA Act need to treat all NZr’s equally. Ian
The PM should seek support from NZ First and get rid all all race based legislation. Bryan
Nick Smith should go along with all his mates. Geoff
However I can understand his frustration with these dictates from Maori. Are we truly living in what Alice discovered when she went through the Looking Glass? I am also very angry at the decision of some Maori group to stop vehicular access to drive up roadways on some of our volcanic cones. Cannot the Council stop this? Peter
This guy is losing it, too long away from the real world that ordinary Kiwis live in. Bob
Quickly Alan
He is a complete liability to the whole country again. Graeme
Appears to be losing non racial based judgement. Peter
And Finlayson from Treaty negotiations. Maurice
Yes! But this is not the crux of the problem. It is the stupidity of the whole RMA bureaucratic process that is the real debacle. Unless Parliament has the intestinal fortitude to repeal this legislation; which is highly unlikely we will be stuck with continual additions to suit this continual Maori political Blackmail. We have an election due next year make sure that the Maori 15% of the population does not control the next Government. Brian
He is well past his best use by date. Gary
I strongly oppose any laws that favour any one group. I also would more consultation with submissions from anyone. Sheila
What a hopeless case! Needs to go asap along with this government. Gil
Winston Peters offer should be accepted and a total revamp of the RMA undertaken. Janet
Wrong person, wrong job. David
The introduction of race based policies is only dividing the country. There is no place for decision making by unelected representatives. Graham
When, oh when, is all this nonsense going to stop? And what have iwi in Taranaki, or elsewhere for that matter, got to do with a shop window in Auckland? Isn’t there more important matters for the RMA to deal with? It’s a ‘racket’ for sure. Jan
Absolutely as no race based decision making should be tolerated. Derek
Absolutely and without question. Chris
Race based accommodation is unacceptable. Rob
YES. We can have no room for racism. Peter
NICK Smith does not answer my emails. Emails about the RMA that Muriel and others are raising on too many occasions. Time for a NEW face to change/delete Clause 38. RICHard
He is as useful as tits on a bull. Simon
We must protect our democracy and stop apartheid government. Mike
What he is attempting is treason. David
I cannot stand the way this ‘Govt’ is now making changes to legislation with out including the public first!! 1st it was the sea bed,it looks like the “Fresh Water” has gone!! And soon it’ll be the RMA. Brian
Nobody should have an effective veto. Paul
Definitely – he has become a blithering idiot. I suspect, however, that his leader is no better and will simply appoint another Maori party siccophant in his place. Alan
The man seems to have an IQ about the level of room temperature and falling!! Ian
Well past his racial use by date, need new blood. Ian
He is too intellectual to be amusing himself with mundane matters that can be used by applying common sense to fix matters of interest to most New Zealanders. Neil
Unbelievable. Albie
Nick smith couldn’t find his own arse with a torch and a mirror. Bill
He has shown how incompetent he is and has no place as a minister. Dave
It would appear that in this instance Smiths ego has over ruled his intellect. Ken
How long will this rubbish with the RMA go on for? Jim
A race based society will not work,we can’t have a single group of racists controlling the country. Ian
NS is a TRAITOR” of the highest level….Tribal war of words will go on and on….Total waste of $$$.. TIME…and energy….again and again the ‘iwi’ elite just push their garbage all over NEW Zealanders…!!! CHRIS
Obviously Nick Smith should resign again as he is not a forward thinker or a person with patience and a brain. John
Nick, along with the National Party in general is being stupid in its pandering to the maori party. Its time for them to make peace with NZ First and get a controling majority in Parliament.. But Nick must go – . he’s lost the plot. = again! Daavid
He shouldn’t be a minister of anything. Michael
But the PM is fully aware of what he’s doing so why is he letting it happen ? Andrew
John take note, we are getting tired of this. Democracy ignored, are we surprised people don’t vote when they are ignored. Bruce
He is too flakey. Bruce
Council are elected. Iwi are not and should have no say unless the application directly affects something they own. For Nick Smith to hand them that right, allowing something simple to be dragged out, with increased cost is ludicrous. Sue
Nick Smith has gone past the point of no return when he is clearly pandering to Iwi allowing race based representation. That is not acceptable no matter what the reason. We are a democracy. Iwi tend to ignore the fact that they are less than half Maori, and it is time they thought of themselves as New Zealanders and looked at what is best for New Zealand. Robbie
Nick Smith’s removal from his position in cabinet is long overdue. It seems he will do anything to pass his legislation even if it means giving in to what is effectively blackmail. His inability to understand the seriously negative consequences of his proposal is disturbing. He needs to be gone as soon and his bill put on hold at least, until they can get some sensible proposals that improve the RMA not make it far far worse. Maybe he needs to also do a compulsory course in understanding what democracy means! Gail
He is a complete waste of time and should never have been reappointed to cabinet.He stuffs up everything he touches. Rog
“You’re fired” is the new message to our careerist compromising MPs. John
Words leave me when it comes to Nick Smith!!!!! Wayne
That whole party should be removed. John Key is as guilty as Nick Smith. It is SO obviously a power play: National wants the votes to BE the government; the iwi bigwigs want the power and prestige of controlling the rest of us, not to mention the huge amounts of money they will gain from the deal. Where are our leaders’ brains? Joyce
Maori continue to be given privileged rights to interfere in the democratic process in NZ. The time has come for some honest looking in the mirror – we are meant to be all ‘one people’ , but we are not. Money making & bureaucratic privileges ‘road block’ privileges continually granted to Maori, with disadvantages to all other citizens, must cease. Hylton
Dump him NOW! Donald
Nick Smith is a complete disaster and I think he should be investigated for his extreme bias towards Maori interests. What is his motivation and what advantage does he gain from doing so? Allan
He is so biased toward Maori that the majority of NZ are denied true justice. Jon
The RMA is a shambles and needs a strong Minister to change it. Bernard
And remove him from Nelson, please. Rod
Should never have been allowed back as a minister after he resigned in 2012. The guy is an idiot. This error by JK allowing him back as a minister is probably only his second mistake as PM alongside his promoting the flag referendum. Chris
It is now apparent that Nick Smith has lost sight of the fact he is an elected member of a democratic government privilrged to serve the best interests of those who elected him, not some minority groups. Bryan
Sorry, I’m just sick of hearing about Maori and their ‘rights’. Kerin
My comments are not printable. Leonie
He is incompetent and believes Maori are ‘Indigenous’ to NZ! Neil
He is a ditherer. Murray
The concessions were only made because National couldn’t get the numbers to pass a more useful act which would give the actual reforms needed. Blame Labour/Greens. Chris
A professional politician from an early age with an enormous belief in his own infallibility, and an enormous lack of real life experience, Smith should be removed – period. John
He is proving to be useless in the job. Barry
Unfortunately Nick seems to be an accident waiting to happen time and time again… Graeme
Need to get NZ First in on the race-based track the National Government is pursuing! Lois
If Nick Smith is the problem he should go and quickly. I cannot understand why the National party does not take up NZ First’s offer to have real reform of the RMA ACT. Once again the greedy IWI rear their ugly heads. Good on Bob Jones for telling them to get stuffed. Colin
What would an ex- school teacher know about serving his people. PM John Key is allowing & encouraging these racist based decisions, just to stay in power is disgraceful . Sucks. Bring on Winston Peters. Lord Neville
Incompetent arrogant pratt. Kelvin
You can’t trust him, he has his own agenda. Colin
A blatant continuation of the racial fraud being perpetrated on New Zealanders. Roderick
He’s nuts. Jim
Poor Nick, he’s really lost the plot and I suspect some of his marbles. Bart
This is a good example of a free range headless chook running in circles with the head rooster admiring the scenery. Barry
When will this pandering to Maori Glory seeking self serving clap track stop. Get rid of the man before we are forced to get approval to use the ablution block or clean our teeth! Robyn
Totally incompetent. Liz
Smith’s judgment has become seriously flawed when his bill requires the race based provisions he has encorporated when NZ First offers the opportunity for continuity of democracy on this issue without resorting to ethnic division. The Nats ignoring the populist movements overseas rejecting the ‘status quo’ will do so at their electoral peril. Richard
He’s turned into an arrogant and conceited MP with absolutely no regard for the majority of NZers who voted this Govt into office’ Goodbye and good riddance. Kevin
All race based legislation should never be considered in NZ It is reverse racism! Annette
Just shows (again) the (in)competence of our elected leaders. Ian
We don’t need a bungaling minister trying to do some thing he is not capable of surly he can see from the Bob Jones episode that he is going from bad to worse let NZ first in to get it sorted in a short time We can’t rely on Mr Key as he is very rarely in the country this rot has to stop NOW. Russell
The Minister for Apartheid needs to be removed from office. Mark
He should be removed from all political offices. Why is he back after two admitted errors of judgement? So he can burden us with more errors of judgement? Larry
Nick Smith MP has a long history of unresolved challenges. He is the go to Minister when something really dirty has to be done in the name of frustrated politics and his current predicament is not of his making so much as it is the direct result of the idiot PC effect of our flawed MMP system. I have no problem that the multi flawed RMA amendment is taken to select committee and buried there untill after the election when National need to Remove the dithering Dunne, Reinforce ACT, recognize Hobson’s Pledge and seek a strong peoples Mandate to once and for all eliminate racketeering on Treaty of Waitangi issues, curtailing undemocratic practices by legislative limits on Treaty definitions and scope. Key, English, Smith and Adams are running the most severe risk of PC appeasement to a few iwi most of whom dont support National at all whilst disenfranchising and alienating the vast cross section of conservative, producer, property owning voters who do support National. Unless ACT come forth as a party supporting those disenfranchised, key is writing a death knell in allowing IWI self interest to triumph over one law for all equality and exclusive authority to elected representation only. My families voting has to be on the Party that adopts Hobson’s Pledge principles and aligns the RMA to that basis. Lest not our grandchildren become economic slaves to iwi self interest. If Smith is buying time and unlocking the chains to institutionalized troughing and taxpayer extortion on subsidized state housing welfare which needs to be privatized to wrest back welfare control , then he should stay, if he is simply enabling a dud system of pandering to iwi politics, he should be gone by lunchtime. Richard
He has been buggering up the country long enough. Owen
How did he ever get a PhD? Or is he a medical doctor ? Anthony
Immediately … the man is deranged and dangerous. Alan
The next election cannot come quick enough! Joan
This is about retaining power at any price. However, it may be a misjudgement in that many National supporters have had enough of different rules for different groups. Wendy
Yes, Nick Smith should go – he’s been shown to be a disaster. Ben
The man cannot be trusted. He is a liability. Hugh
The reforms Nick Smith outlined last year were good ones. He should have agreed to the deal with Winston Peters. The Maori Party’s changes are a disaster. Rosanne
Smith cannot be trusted to do a good job. Replace him. Roger
The Maori Party’s ideas are shocking. The Maori seats should be abolished then we wouldn’t have racism determining resource management for goodness sake! Smith should go too. His test was whether he would agree to work with Winston Peters and he failed miserably. Thomas