6 Mar 2017

Govt secures Māori Party's support for RMA changes

8:48 pm on 6 March 2017

The government has secured the Māori Party's agreement to support the Resource Management Act (RMA) legislation through all remaining stages in Parliament.

Caucas run.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said he would be meeting with the Māori Party in the future to ensure they had the details right. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The bill will come back to the House for its second reading this week.

Last month, there was debate about whether the Māori Party's support for the bill was rock solid, but today Environment Minister Nick Smith said they had reached an agreement.

Dr Smith said it came after detailed consideration of the policy and the inclusion of Māori Party proposals to strengthen iwi consultation.

"The Mana Whakahono ā Rohe/Iwi Participation Agreement provides a better framework for councils to meet their existing obligations to consult with local iwi. Many councils already have these agreements through treaty settlements or good practice.

"The government supports these provisions because we want iwi involved in how natural resources are managed and because formalising the process will help achieve better outcomes with less delays and costs."

Dr Smith said he would be meeting with the Māori Party in the future to ensure they had the details right.

"This is a huge bill and the Māori Party was not a member of the select committee. They need time to digest all of the select committee's detailed changes to ensure they are consistent with their agreement with the government."

The government has struggled to gain enough political support to make its desired changes to the RMA - failing last term, before resurrecting its plan in 2014.