Making Way for the Rugby World Cup

A Review of the Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act 2010

January 2011

In less than eight months time, the Rugby World Cup 2011 will kick off and bring one of the world's largest sporting events to our shores. This high profile event presents a valuable opportunity for New Zealand to showcase itself to visitors and viewers from around the globe.

In an attempt to make the most of this opportunity, Parliament has passed the Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act 2010.  Amongst other matters, this Act introduces significant changes to the usual resource consenting process under the RMA. This article briefly outlines the purpose and key features of the Act and the potential implications for those affected by the changes.

What is the purpose of the Act?

The purpose of this Act is to enable activities and facilities that are necessary for the World Cup to gain approvals and consents without delay. This reflects the Government's concern that the Resource Management Act is too slow and cumbersome to deal with dynamic large scale events such as this.

With New Zealand on the world stage, the Government wants to make the most of commercial opportunities and avoid the circumstance where services and facilities are not completed due to the absence of RMA consents. The Act therefore seeks to remove some of this 'red tape' by creating new consenting procedures for World Cup activities.

What does the Act do?

The Act establishes the Rugby World Cup Authority, which is responsible for determining applications for approval for World Cup related activities. In order to have an application considered by the Authority, the applicant must demonstrate that:

The activity or facility is "reasonably necessary" for the proper conduct of the World Cup;All reasonable practicable measures have been taken to obtain necessary consents under the RMA or that the application could not reasonably have been made at an earlier date; andIt is unlikely that the application could be determined in time for the Rugby World Cup under the normal RMA processes.

If these criteria are satisfied, the application is processed by the Authority under the new procedure provided by the Act. The key features of this process are the speed with which it occurs, the specific matters that must be taken into account by the Authority, and the restricted rights of submission and appeal. In short, all of these changes are designed to simplify and accelerate the approval process. A basic timeline for the approval process including public notice and a hearing is shown below, which must be completed in a maximum of 40 working days from receipt of the application.

When deciding whether to grant consent to an application, the Authority must consider a range of specified matters, including the desirability of making proper preparation for, and maximising the benefits from, the World Cup. Certain adverse effects must also be disregarded, including any effects that relate solely to the site or location of the activity and are temporary in nature.

All consents granted will be of a limited duration and must expire before the end of 2011 (with some exceptions). There is only a limited right of appeal on decisions to the High Court on questions of law.

In addition to the process described above, from 1 July 2011 the Authority will have additional powers to make recommendations to the Minister for urgent approvals. In order to be considered for an urgent approval an applicant must demonstrate that circumstances of urgency exist that, for good reason, were not foreseen.

Who will this affect?

Anyone who will be involved with activities or facilities in relation to the World Cup should be aware of and familiar with the opportunities that the Act provides. Where the criteria can be satisfied, the Act should provide a much simplified process and avoid an activity being frustrated by the delay that may otherwise occur with a full RMA process.

On the flip side, the general public should also be aware of their somewhat limited rights of submission on such activities. A potential consequence of the Act is that some activities and facilities that may not otherwise have gained consent will be allowed to occur.  Even though these activities are likely to be of limited duration, it is important that they still receive proper consideration by the Authority and that the presence of the World Cup does not completely overshadow the potential adverse effects that such activities may create.


Disclaimer: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.


Posted on Friday 25th January, 2013 at 01:59 pm