Proposed law turns back on Kiwi way of life
People who enjoy the outdoors for recreation, fishing and hunting will lose rights under the Natural and Built Environments Bill.
Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Corina Jordan says the proposed replacement for the Resource Management Act (RMA) does not reflect the values of many Kiwis.
Fish & Game has for decades championed protection of a healthy environment, sustainable economic development, and the ability of Kiwis and international visitors to enjoy the outdoors for fishing and hunting.
“The Bill does not reflect or respect the extraordinary value New Zealanders place on their enjoyment of the outdoors,” Jordan says.
“For many hundreds of thousands of us, being outdoors is an essential part of living a good life.
“Our way of life includes the ability to go bush, or to the water, to relax or focus on outdoor activities, and to harvest nature’s bounty in a healthy environment.”
The outdoors are places where bonds with family and friends are formed and kept for life, are provably therapeutic, and an essential part of wellbeing.
“This is an urgent threat to the integrity of the Kiwi outdoor life. People must tell Parliament that recreational values and a healthy environment should be considered essential values,” Jordan says.
The Bill mentions protecting public access but does not stop development pressures from overriding that access, Jordan says.
Proposed legislation significantly reduces the public’s ability to contribute towards decision-making on local resource management or to appeal to independent authorities such as the Environment Court.
“It should provide an explicit path for individuals and community groups to have they say in decisions that directly affect their values, or may be detrimental to the health of land or waterways.”
Jordan says the replacement Bill is needed, and is drafted with good intentions, but politicians and officials should take more time to get it right.
“The Bill must explicitly state the values widely held across society for the environment, such as custodianship, recreation, amenity values, and fishing and hunting.”
Public submissions on the Bill close on Sunday (February 5, 2023). Fish and Game is encouraging people to have their say. www.fishandhuntforever.nz