[23 July/Rural Life]

Federated Farmers has expressed concerns about new Resource Management Act guidelines. They were intended to assist councils in their monitoring and enforcement duties under the act. Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor, Richard Gardner, said it favoured best practice guidelines on how councils exercised their duties. Environment Minister, David Parker, said the enforcement of the rule of law would be essential to encourage broader compliance as voluntary compliance by the majority could be undermined by the minority who did not comply. There was a concern the guidelines missed opportunities for fairer outcomes. Federated Farmers found councils were misusing their powers, and the guidelines would hopefully cause more practicality and consistency to the exercise of that role. Mr Gardner added Federated Farmers found fault with some of the guidelines and was disappointed it had not been more involved in putting them in place. The Ministry for the Environment was establishing a unit to oversee compliance with the Act.