Te Wai Māori welcomes Randerson Panel’s recommendations on RMA

31 July 2020

Te Wai Māori Trust welcomes the release and recommendations of the Randerson Panel’s recommendations regarding the Resource Management Act (RMA).

The report thoroughly explores failings of the existing system with respect to Māori and Te Tiriti and includes strong signalling of the need to provide a greater more effective role for Māori in decision-making including in the design of measures to give effect to Te Tiriti. In our response to the Panel during its review of the RMA, Te Wai Māori Trust raised concerns over the lack of utilisation of existing mechanisms (JMAs, s33, Mana Whakahono ā Rohe) and chronic under-resourcing of Māori, Iwi and hapū so it is good to see the panel’s recommendations relating to funding and support and need to remove legislative barriers to transfer of powers and JMAs and to enhance Manawhaka hono ā rohe provisions.

Also in our response to the Panel, we raised concerns over lack of accountability and absence of any robust monitoring and auditing of the performance of central Government and local authorities with respect to their statutory and legislative obligations to Māori. The establishment of a body such as a National Māori Advisory Board performing this role and holding central and local government to account of its failings is needed.

Strengthening the Treaty clause within the RMA will give much greater weight to Māori interests by removing the discretion/room for interpretation that currently sits with decision-makers through the weaker requirement to ‘take into account’. This would avoid Māori interests being ‘balanced out’ as the report touches on – and hopefully better provide for a Tiriti compliant system to be built.