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SIGNIFICANT AMENDMENTS TO THE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACT SIGNALLED BY GOVERNMENT
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Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith has outlined proposed amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991.

Signalled as “the most significant overhaul to the Act since its inception 25 years ago”, the Government is planning 10 major changes to address increasing concerns on housing demand and affordability, employment and export growth, infrastructure development and managing natural hazards.

The 10 proposed major amendments are to:

  • Include the management of significant natural hazards 
  • Recognise urban planning
  • Prioritise housing affordability
  • Acknowledge the importance of infrastructure
  • Give greater weight to property rights
  • Implement national planning templates
  • Speed up plan development processes
  • Encourage collaborative resolution
  • Strengthen national tools (such as National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards)
  • Increase use of electronic communications for notification and serving documents

Most of these amendments are not new.  In 2013, the then Environment Minister Amy Adams proposed significant changes to the principles of the Act (sections 6 and 7), introduction of a national planning template, and other changes designed to streamline the way we develop planning documents and strengthen our national planning tools.  However, the Government was unable to secure the necessary numbers to progress these changes.

With strengthened numbers following the 2014 election, the Government intends to draft and introduce a Bill within the first half of this year, with the select committee process commencing by the end of 2015.

The true impact of the proposed amendments will become evident once the Bill is introduced.  We will monitor any developments and keep you up to date with the changes.
 
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If there are any issues raised in this article that you would like to discuss with one of our environment and planning experts, please contact Nicky McIndoe on 04 915 0818.

 

This article was authored by Natalie Amos, an Associate in our Auckland office.

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Nicky McIndoe

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Wellington and Auckland

+64 4 915 0818

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