RMA Reform - Resource Management Amendment Bill 2019 - Open for Submissions

Introduction

The latest step in the Labour-led Government’s resource management reform package has been presented to Parliament. The Resource Management Amendment Bill (the Bill), aimed at amending the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), was introduced to the House of Representatives on 23 September 2019 by the Honourable David Parker (Minister for the Environment) and has passed its first reading.

The Bill is designed to “reduce complexity, increase certainty, restore public participation opportunities, and improve [RMA] processes. The Bill also supports the urgent need to improve freshwater management and outcomes in New Zealand”.


Background

With the Bill, Labour attempts to wind back of some of National’s 2017 RMA amendments in the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA). The Bill also represents the first stage of the Government’s resource management reform, where stage two is planned to be a “comprehensive overhaul” of the RMA. Read more about the full proposal here in our previous updates February 2019 Update and September 2019 Update.


What the Amendment Bill Seeks to Achieve

The Bill, if passed into law as currently drafted, would repeal the following amendments made under the National government:

  • Freshwater management strategies, such as the collaborative planning process;
  • Restrictions on public participation abilities, including subdivisions;
  • ‘Fast track’ planning process for certain controlled activities; and
  • Delegation to the Minister for the Environment of the power to prohibit or overturn local plan rules.

In addition, the Bill seeks to:

  • Create a new freshwater planning process, in support of the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management which the Government plans to complete in 2020;
  • Improve RMA processes, including by increasing public participation, allowing the suspension of non-notified consent processing and allowing the review of multiple consents at a time (e.g. a block of consents which affect freshwater management);
  • Increase maximum infringement fees and the statutory limitation period for prosecutions under the RMA; and
  • Enable the Environmental Protection Authority to undertake enforcement action under the RMA.

Making a Submission on the Bill

Submissions on the Bill will be accepted up until 7 November 2019. If you would like to have your say, visit Parliament’s submissions page on the Bill via this link.

To discuss any implications the Bill may have on you or your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Team at Adderley Head.

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

Posted on Tuesday 22nd October, 2019 at 12:18 pm