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GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES WIDE-RANGING RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACT 1991 REFORMS
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The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced into Parliament today with a key focus on reducing costs and delays.

The proposed amendments are substantial; they run to over 180 pages and will affect the Public Works Act, Conservation Act, Reserves Act, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act, and the Resource Management Act.  
 
Key changes include:

  • National planning templates to standardise planning documents, improve consistency, and reduce timeframes
  • Faster plan-making processes, including truncated timeframes and new collaborative and streamlined options.  The Amendment Bill would also give decision-makers the right to strike out submissions for plans, policy statements and consents on specific grounds
  • A requirement for councils to invite iwi to form an iwi participation arrangement setting out how the council will engage with iwi in the plan making process
  • A new 10 working day time limit to determine simple fast track consents, and the ability to waive resource consent requirements for marginal or temporary non-compliance where effects are minor
  • Support for subdivision and residential development, including permitting some subdivisions and restricting third party appeals against many subdivisions and residential activities. The Amendment Bill would also require district and regional councils to plan for growth
  • Narrower notification requirements for specified types of resource consents
  • Changes to the Public Works Act to increase some heads of compensation for property owners and tenants following acquisition and to speed up some aspects of the compulsory acquisition process
  • The insertion of “the management of significant risks from natural hazards” as a section 6 matter. 

The Amendment Bill is likely to stimulate substantial debate in the coming months.  We will keep you on top of this issue with detailed commentary over the next few weeks, and will advise the closing date for submissions once the Bill’s First Reading is complete. The amendments are likely to have wide-reaching impacts.

The Environment Minister's announcement from today (and related documents) can be found here.
 
If you have any questions at this stage, or if you would like to discuss with us how the Amendment Bill could affect your business, please contact Nicky McIndoe, Matthew Ockleston, or Christina Sheard.

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Nicky McIndoe
Nicky McIndoe

Partner

Wellington and Auckland

+64 4 915 0818

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