Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced proposals for a revamp of the resource management system to make it easier to use, increase certainty and predictability, attract investment, reduce unnecessary duplication and cost, whilst continuing to protect the environment.
“Around New Zealand frustration with the Resource Management Act (RMA) is rife. The way RMA processes are operating is costing us all in time, money and lost opportunities. The systems have become cumbersome, uncertain and highly litigious,” Ms Adams says.
“The money spent on having to fight to get ahead or to defend your position is money that our households and businesses are missing out on.
“The impacts of this are real - delays and uncertainties means potential new jobs are not being created, houses are more expensive and communities have no idea what to expect in their neighbourhoods.
“Fundamentally, the proposed reforms are about providing greater confidence for businesses to grow and create jobs, greater certainty for communities to plan for their area’s needs, and stronger environmental outcomes as our communities grow and change.
“In most cases, this is not about whether a particular project can or cannot proceed, it is about the time and cost to reach that decision.”
Since 2008, the Government has made significant progress to the way the resource management system works, but there are still areas for improvement to make the RMA simpler, less costly and more effective.
For this reason, the Government has today released a discussion document that proposes to make a number of improvements to the RMA across planning, consenting and appeals.
The reform package questions the respective decision-making roles of central and local government, and that of the court system, and considers how processes can be more proportionate to the activities involved.
The reforms within the package are divided into six core objectives:
• Greater national consistency and guidance
• Fewer, better resource management plans
• An effective and efficient consenting system
• Better natural hazard management
• Effective and meaningful Māori participation; and
• Working with councils to improve their RMA service performance
“The proposals are designed to encourage more proactive planning for community needs up front, rather than the consent-by-consent planning that has become prevalent in many places.
“Taken together, the proposals will streamline and improve decision-making at every level.
“The RMA is now 22 years old. It was an innovative approach at that time, focused on enabling growth as long as environmental bottom lines were met, but it has not lived up to its full promise. While the RMA has many strengths, it is in need of an overhaul.”
For a copy of the RMA discussion document go to: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publicati=ons/rma/improving-our-resource-management-system.html