This proposed legislation is set to extensively reform the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘RMA’) along with a number of related statutes which comprise the resource management system in New Zealand. The National Government initiated the Bill as part of its second phase of RMA reforms, in order to address “cumbersome planning processes and the time and cost of consenting”. However, some of the proposals in the Bill have been criticised for curbing public participation and local government decision-making.
The key changes recommended by the Select Committee include:
Last year we produced a series of Newsflashes describing the provisions of the Bill as it was introduced. Those Newsflashes can be found here:
The report released yesterday includes a revised version of the Bill, which was prepared by the Select Committee after considering a 500-page departmental report by the Ministry for the Environment, as well as more than 700 submissions by members of the public, interest groups, and businesses.
The Select Committee’s report has confirmed a number of politically driven amendments to the Bill signalled in November 2016 (which we summarised here), including changes to Iwi Participation Arrangements – included to secure the Māori Party’s support for the Bill. The New Zealand Labour Party, Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand and New Zealand First have all prepared brief minority reports opposing the Bill.
The Minister has indicated that the Bill will come back to the House for its second reading this week. The Government will be looking to push the Bill through with the support of the Māori Party well before the election in September. A press release from the Minister suggests further amendments could be necessary to ensure the changes recommended in the report are consistent with the agreement between the Government and Māori Party.
Kensington Swan will be analysing the significant aspects of the Bill in a series of Newsflashes, focussing on key changes to the features of the Bill as originally proposed and the implications of those changes. Look out for our first in-depth look at the changes next week.
If you would like to discuss the implications of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, please contact Nicky McIndoe.
 The Public Works Act 1981, the Conservation Act 1987, the Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011, and the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.
 Ministry for the Environment The second phase of Resource Management Act reform (November, 2015)