By Jo Moir of RNZ
New National Party leader Judith Collins has announced a National government would repeal the Resource Management Act completely, and replace it with two new pieces of law.
Collins said previous governments have tinkered with the RMA with amendments, and that is a "mistake".
She plans not to reform it, but repeal it altogether.
"We will replace it with two new pieces of law: an Environment Standards Act, setting our environmental bottom lines; and an Urban Planning and Development Act, giving clarity and consistency. We will begin this work in our first 100 days.
"We will introduce new legislation by the end of next year," she said.
That process will however be too slow for the projects she's announced in her infrastructure policy today, including an eye-watering $31 billion to be spent on an infrastructure upgrade to the country's transport network.
The RMA fast-track legislation passed in response to Covid-19 provides a useful interim framework, but is too limited, she said.
"National will make far more extensive use of the fast-track act.
"New Zealand is facing an extraordinary jobs and economic crisis; and it demands a proportional response.
"We simply cannot let the RMA stand in the way of urgently needed infrastructure development."
Before making her comments on the RMA, Collins said she was about to address "the elephant in the room".
"I'm going to say what you're thinking: How can we possibly deliver all these projects – or even any of them – with the RMA standing so firmly in our way? You're right to think that. The RMA is New Zealand's biggest barrier to future development."
She then said all New Zealanders were "sick of" aspects such as "the diabolical processes and never-ending but insincere consultation", "the endless cost and delays the RMA gifts to seemingly every development" and "good projects falling-over in court".
In her first big policy announcement today, Collins delivered the opposition's infrastructure plan - a policy former leader Todd Muller was meant to make before quitting on Tuesday.
Collins finished her first major speech as National leader by vowing: "I want to tell you all right now, we will legislate for our projects if necessary. We will be respectful of local government and local stakeholders, most particularly mana whenua, and the likes of NZTA and the Infrastructure Commission.
"But if we are chosen to form a Government this September, we will regard ourselves as having a democratic mandate to proceed with the projects I have announced today."