An Auckland mayor is pushing for changes to the Resource Management Act so that only those directly affected by a development can object to it.
The move by Andrew Williams of North Shore City comes after Australian-owned Progressive Enterprises lodged an appeal seeking to overturn a resource consent for a supermarket.
He says Progressive is hiding behind the act in order to meet its own commercial objectives and acting in an anti-competitive manner.
The Pak'nSave at the centre of the debate sits on land on Wairau Rd bought by New Zealand-owned chain Foodstuffs in the late 1980s. After a series of objections by Progressive it was finally built in 2005.
However, the High Court later overturned the project's resource consent and the supermarket was not allowed to open.
Foodstuffs regained consent last month but Progressive has appealed against the decision in the Environment Court.
It says the area would be unable to cope with the increased traffic load and has objected under the Resource Management Act.
The act allows any person to object to a development but Mr Williams wants to have it changed so that only someone who is directly affected can object.
Progressive's closest supermarket to the Pak'nSave is in Sunnynook, 3km away.
"Why should they have the right to object?" Mr Williams said. "It has nothing to do with them. Are they traffic control? Last time I checked they were a supermarket.
"Why should one supermarket raise objections about traffic movements at another supermarket which is many kilometres away from their own business?"
Mr Williams said he had spoken to MPs from Labour and National and had urged them to include the change in their campaigns for the upcoming election. He would not reveal who he had spoken to.
"I have raised concerns that anti-competitive behaviour can be perpetuated through the RMA.
"This is not helping the development of our cities and if New Zealand is to lift its game internationally and be more competitive we need to address the constraints caused by the act.
"This is a clear case of progress in New Zealand being thwarted by vested interests abusing the best intentions of the RMA."
The new supermarket could actually cut travel times for a large numbers of shoppers.
Progressive says the company welcomes competition in the grocery sector but believes new supermarkets should be opened in areas that comply with local zoning.
"The site has never been zoned for big-box retail use," said its general manager of property, Adrian Walker, "and, in our application to the Environment Court, we point out that it is clear that the surrounding roads will be unable to cope with the increased traffic load.
"All we are seeking is that planning decisions are made consistently and fairly. That way there is one rule for all.
"For the mayor to suggest we are motivated by anything other than seeing planning applied fairly and consistently is disappointing and incorrect."