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Maori Party upstages ACT and UF over RMA

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/03/2017

The Maori Party has upstaged ACT and United Future by announcing it has reached agreement with the government to support the Resource Management Bill through its remaining stages.

The announcement was made two hours after ACT and UF offered to help the government out by supporting the controversial bill if changes were made to it.

ACT leader David Seymour and UF leader Peter Dunne said the Maori Party's ongoing support for the bill was uncertain, and the government didn't need to continue negotiating if it accepted their offer.

With the Maori Party backing the bill, the government has a bare majority to get it through parliament.

Until now there had been some outstanding issues but they've been cleared up by Environment Minister Nick Smith.

His deal with the Maori Party involves enhanced iwi participation in decision-making processes.

The bill makes sweeping changes to the Resource Management Act, mainly to make it easier to free up land for housing.

There have been numerous problems with it since the government first announced its intentions four years ago.

ACT and UF were demanding the government drop a provision which allows the minister for the environment to override council planning decisions.

Maori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox announced the agreement in a joint statement.

"We've worked hard on the outcomes to reach an agreement we are satisfied with," they said.

"The Maori Party recognises the importance to New Zealand of increasing housing supply and the essential role the RMA plays in supporting development in the areas where it is needed most: Auckland and Christchurch."

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