Review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991

The Government has opened consultation on its review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) by inviting public submissions on an initial discussion document. The discussion document is available here. Submissions are open until 27 January 2020.

The review of the CMA (Review) is intended to bring the legislation into alignment with the vision of the Government’s recently released Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand 2019-2029 (Strategy). A copy of that Strategy is available here.

The aspirational vision of the Strategy is to transform the minerals and petroleum sector into a world-leading environmentally and socially responsible sector that delivers affordable and secure resources, for the benefit of current and future New Zealanders. Reviewing and modernising the CMA therefore means looking at it under a lens that includes economic, environmental and social considerations.

The Government’s overall objectives of the Review are to ensure that:

• The mineral and petroleum resources sector contributes to a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy;

• There is appropriate management of associated risks and downsides; and

• The governing regulatory regime is clear, coherent and fair.

These objectives are underpinned by principles of fairness, future proofing, responsible regulation and support for the long-term wellbeing of New Zealanders.

The discussion document invites stakeholder and public opinion on 40 questions across eight chapters. Some examples of the questions include:

• Question 2: How should the purpose of the CMA be expressed through its purpose statement? Should the purpose statement be amended from promoting the prospecting for, exploration for, and mining of Crown-owned minerals for the benefit of New Zealand? If yes, why? If not, why not? If the purpose statement should be amended, what alternative wording would most appropriately describe the purpose of the CMA (e.g. administer, manage)?

• Question 9: In your view, should there be more public involvement in the decision-making process for the granting of CMA permits?

• Question 12: What matters should the Minister consider when considering requests for defined areas of particular significance to iwi and hapū be excluded from the operation of a minerals programme or not be included in a permit under section 14(2)(c)?

• Question 21: Do you agree with the proposed record keeping requirements? Why? Does it set the right balance between having comprehensive records and costs to industry?

• Question 36: Does this proposal provide the right balance between the right for parties to be notified, and regulatory efficiency?

Submissions are welcome on any or all of the questions set out in the discussion document, and evidence in support of submissions is encouraged.

Given consultation is in the early stages, no specific changes have been proposed to the CMA itself. Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has indicated that she will report back to Cabinet in early 2020 with proposed amendments and new legislation will be introduced later in 2020. We will report back again at that point.

If you have any questions or concerns about the discussion document or would like assistance preparing a submission, please contact Lane Neave’s Resource Management Team: Joshua Leckie, Rebecca Wolt, Annabel Linterman, Kelsey Barry.

Submissions are open until 27 January 2020.

Thank you to Helena Scholes for her assistance with the preparation of this article.

Resource Management team

Josh Leckie, Annabel Linterman, Kelsey Barry

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