Proposed RMA Two-Staged Reform


Introduction

In 2018 the Government announced a proposed two-stage reform process for the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).


Stage 1 Reform

Stage 1 of this reform process will begin early 2019, when the Government plans to introduce an amendment Bill. The Bill is intended to address issues that have arisen since the previous Government’s 2017 RMA reforms and other issues the Government has identified that can be relatively “simple” to amend. The key objectives of the Bill are to increase certainty and reduce complexity in the RMA and to restore opportunities for public participation in resource consent processes.


2019 RMA Amendment Bill

The Bill will include:

  • Enabling the Environment Court to make declarations in respect of resource consent notification decisions;
  • Reversing the permitted presumption for subdivision consent applications;
  • Reinstating public notification and appeal rights for subdivisions and residential activity resource consents;
  • Strengthening enforcement tools;
  • Increasing flexibility for resource consent application processing timeframes for both councils and applicants;
  • Reducing the Minister for the Environment’s ability to overturn local plan rules and making regulations for new fast-tracked activities; and
  • Reinstating financial contributions, which were due to be removed in 2022 under the 2017 RMA reforms.

Once the Bill has been referred to the Select Committee, there will be an opportunity for public submissions on the Bill.


Stage 2 Reform

Stage 2 of the Government’s reform will also begin in 2019. This is expected to be a more fundamental reform of the RMA, focusing on including in the RMA the Government’s current initiatives for reform for climate change, urban development and fresh water management.

There will also be changes to the resource management system as a whole. This includes improving alignment across different pieces resource management legislation, improving the quality of decision making, issuing clear national direction, ensuring plans can be created, amended and implemented within more reasonable timeframes (while providing for meaningful public consultation) and reducing complexity in the resource consenting process.


Further Updates

We will be providing further updates as the RMA reforms are progressed throughout the year.


 

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

 

Posted on Thursday 14th February, 2019 at 12:34 pm