Report on RMA overhaul released

The Resource Management Review Panel, chaired by retired Court of Appeal Judge, Hon Tony Randerson QC, tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of the resource management system in New Zealand has released its report, New Directions for Resource Management in New Zealand (Report).

The recommendations in the Report are wide-ranging and would result in a major overhaul of the current system. Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Replacing the long and complex Resource Management Act 1991 with a new Natural and Built Environments Act (NBEA), with a shift in focus away from managing the adverse effects of activities on the environment towards promoting positive outcomes for both natural and built environments.
  • Introducing a new Strategic Planning Act to enable land and resource planning to be better integrated with the provision of infrastructure, and associated funding and investment.
  • Including outcomes in the NBEA to address the effects of climate change and natural hazards risks, as well as introducing a new Managed Retreat and Climate Change Adaptation Act.
  • Providing a significantly greater role for Māori in the resource management system, including through the creation of a National Māori Advisory Board to advise central and local government.
  • Improving system efficiency and effectiveness through tools such as:
    • Greater use of mandatory national direction by the Minister for the Environment to guide planning at a local government level.
    • Mandatory combined plans for each region, reducing the 100+ policy statements and plans in existence throughout the country to just 14. The development of these plans would be based on the model recently used for the Auckland Unitary Plan.
    • Referral of more serious disputes directly to the Environment Court and alternative processes to deal with resource consents raising localised issues.

Full details and a copy of the Report are available here.

With Parliament soon to dissolve for the upcoming election, it will be for the next government to decide which parts of the Report will be acted on. The next step in the review process will be consultation to develop government policy and the form of future legislation.

If you have any questions on the detail of the Report, please contact our Resource Management team.

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