Exposure Draft of the Natural and Built Environments Act

What has happened thus far?

In February this year, building on the release of the Resource Management Review Panel’s report, the Government announced its plans to scrap the RMA and replace it with three separate Acts. The three Acts will be:

  • the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBEA) - which will perform a broadly similar function to what the RMA does  now;
  • the Strategic Planning Act (SPA) – which will require that local authorities and key stakeholders create strategic plans that set out the long-term strategic goals for a region including coordination of infrastructure; and
  • The Climate Change Adaptation Act (CCAA) - this Act is intended to respond to the effects of climate change, including by setting out a framework that manages retreat from areas that will be inundated by sea level rise or increased flooding.

In June 2021 the Government released an exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill, for the first of two public consultation processes. This exposure draft is not the full Bill, but contains a number of key sections. You can read the exposure draft Bill here.

Where are we now?

Submissions on the exposure draft closed in August and now the Environment Select Committee is considering these submissions and whether any of the exposure draft content needs to be amended. The Select Committee is expected to report back to Parliament with its findings later this year.

The Select Committee’s scope of inquiry on the exposure draft is relatively limited in this first round of consultation, and there are some aspects that the Select Committee cannot consider at this stage.  

Where to next?

During the latter part of this year the Government will consider the findings of the Select Committee after the round one consultation process, which will be used to develop a full draft of the Natural and Built Environments Act Bill.

Early next year the Government intends to introduce the full Natural and Built Environments Bill along with the Strategic Planning Bill into the House. Following that we expect both Bills will be sent to the Environment Select Committee for a further round of public consultation. The Government aims to pass these two Bills into law before the next general election in 2023.

Have your say 

The round one consultation process was only on a skeletal Natural and Built Environments Bill, therefore it was difficult to understand how these provisions would impact upon resource users such as land developers and the primary industries.

However it is likely that when we see the full Natural and Built Environments Bill in early 2022, the second iteration of the Bill will contain enough substance for resource users to understand how it will impact them. This will enable them to make a more informed submission if they want to support or suggest changes to the Bill.

As usual, we are happy to help you participate in this important legislative reform process. If you would like to discuss with us how we can help, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of the team.

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

Posted on Wednesday 29th September, 2021 at 05:00 pm