Rules Reduction Task force report released

Columns
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The newly released Rules Reduction Task force report reveals real opportunities for both central and local government to make life easier for New Zealanders says task force co-chair, Waitaki MP, Jacqui Dean. 

The report, co-authored by Mrs Dean and task force co-chair Auckland businessman Michael Barnett, is entitled 'The loopy rules report: New Zealanders tell their stories’ was publicly released on Tuesday by initiator, Local Government Minister Paula Bennett.  

Mrs Dean said the enquiry had proven an insight as from day one task force members were struck by the number of instances where originating rule-maker's intentions were somehow lost in translation.  

"We have many examples of inappropriate interpretation, including over-zealous enforcement and lack of focus on the customer. People told us of their confusion and frustration with frequent changes and their exasperation with inconsistency, time-consuming processes and unreasonable costs.

"It was also a surprise to us to find a number of the loopy rules are in fact just myths. Lolly scrambles aren't banned, neither are three-step ladders! Misinterpretations and misunderstandings have been repeated so often they have taken on factual status. 

"We realise myths fill a gap when clear information is hard to find. We've also highlighted these with the rules that need to be changed or removed."

Mrs Dean said the task force also discovered such rules were difficult to get rid of as they’re remained part of a wider system, that included an absence of customer focus, or because the interests of experts or the fears of their administrators. 

"What’s clear is they thrive when rule makers fail to take responsibility for them."

The report also contained examples of loopy laws, all of which were or had been  requirements enforced by various officiating sectors.

 Mrs Dean said suggested fixes included making it easier to get building consents: getting serious about lifting building sector skills; make it easier to get resource consents; reducing consenting fees costs; sorting out what “work safety” means and how to do it and establishing a new customer focus on the public sector.

"Most importantly we've called on both central and local government to stop making more loopy rules." 

Mrs Dean said many of the 2000 submissions heard by task force members  related to the Resource Management Act and the Building Act.

ENDS

Approved for release by Jacqui Dean, MP for Waitaki, Thames Street, Oamaru