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Resource management

​Chapman Tripp comments on the reform of the Resource Management Act, Phases I and II.

Ground Cover - Issue 12, July 2016

20 September 2016

A busy programme of legislative and regulatory reform is underway in relation to resource management, local government, planning and construction law. To help you keep tabs on what is going on, we have produced this overview. We plan to update it at least quarterly.

Blue skies review for urban planning – the take-off

15 January 2016

The blue skies review into urban planning has now left the runway, with the release by the Productivity Commission before Christmas of an issues paper seeking feedback on possible directions for change. Submissions are due by 9 March.

RMA Reform Bill – busy with change but less than National wanted

26 November 2015

The ‘phase two’ RMA reforms, initially to have been passed in 2014, have now finally been introduced to Parliament as the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.

Much more at stake in RMA reform than the Auckland housing market

18 March 2015

Auckland is now ranked the ninth least affordable major city in the world on the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, with median house prices sitting at around eight times median income. The potential implications of this at both the human and the national level are serious. The effect on the banking system of a sudden and severe price correction in Auckland is exercising the mind of the Reserve Bank and may even be keeping the RBNZ Governor awake at night.

Full steam ahead for RMA reform

22 January 2015

The Government is aiming to have the “most significant overhaul” of the Resource Management Act (RMA) since the Act’s inception 25 years ago introduced into the House and through the select committee process before the end of this year. It only needs the Act Party’s vote to push the legislation through, and it already has that in the bag. However, the details of the policy are still sketchy and Environment Minister Nick Smith admits that there is a “power of work” ahead to finalise and draft the required Bill.

Round two local government reform done

26 August 2014

The passage of the Local Government Amendment Act (No 3) in the last week before the House rose for the elections completes the eight point reform programme announced by National in 2012. We outline the changes with particular focus on the new development contributions regime.

Fitting a gearbox into the Freshwater NPS

11 November 2013

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS) is to be fitted with a gearbox or ‘how to’ manual in the form of a National Objectives Framework to assist regional councils with implementation.

Biggest reform round yet for the Resource Management Act

14 August 2013

The delivery of smoother and crisper planning processes is the big objective behind the next round of reforms to the much-reformed Resource Management Act (RMA).

Bill to speed urban development reported back

13 June 2013

The Resource Management Reform Bill, designed to speed subdivision and regional infrastructure projects and to grease the progress of the Auckland Unitary Plan, was reported back from select committee on Tuesday and is expected to be passed before the end of this year. Most of the committee’s proposed changes could be described as procedural but some are more controversial and will be opposed by Labour and the Greens.

Compulsory acquisition rights not so sweeping after all

07 May 2013

The government’s rights of compulsory acquisition can be invoked to acquire land needed directly, or indirectly, for government projects. But the government cannot act as proxy to acquire compulsorily land for utility operators needing to relocate infrastructure as a consequence of a government project. Utility operators needing to acquire land for their works should instead rely on the Minister’s parallel acquisition powers under the Resource Management Act. So the Supreme Court has found in Seaton v Minister for Land Information, reversing a previous finding by the Court of Appeal.

Government casts off into freshwater reforms

12 March 2013

The Government’s preliminary response to the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum is necessarily limited – not insignificant but just the first steps in a journey of managed change. Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond - the document released by Ministers Amy Adams and Nathan Guy at the weekend - leaves most of the important decisions for later, when New Zealand has built up the scientific and community knowledge necessary for implementation. But, because water is critical to the New Zealand environment, economy and lifestyle, we suggest that you engage early. Comments are due by 8 April 2013.

Phase 2 reforms – boot camp for the Resource Management Act?

07 March 2013

The changes the Government is proposing in its Phase Two reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA) are more radical than anything in the RMA’s turbulent 22 year history. They are designed to reduce delays and costs in the system, remove “roadblocks to more effective resource management” and give central government new levers to exert influence and control. The implications for business are large and largely positive but will require significant adjustment and adaptation.

A lot to get to grips with in RMA Amendment Bill

25 January 2013

The Resource Management Reform Bill runs to nearly 50 pages and will be far-reaching in its effects – streamlining consenting processes for medium and large projects but also front-end loading consent applications. So far most of the attention has focussed on the proposed one-off hearing process for the Auckland Unitary Plan but the Bill’s influence will extend well beyond Auckland. Submissions are due by 28 February 2013.

Resource Management Reform Bill

06 December 2012

​Further streamlining of the resource management regime and a new one-off process for preparing the Auckland Unitary Plan were introduced in Parliament yesterday as part of the Resource Management Reform Bill. The omnibus Bill amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

Land and Water Forum writes the book on scarcity management

20 November 2012

The Land and Water Forum’s third and final report, released last week, sets out a detailed policy prescription for freshwater management in circumstances of short or tight supply. Under the Forum’s proposals, existing users could look forward to increased security of tenure and an easier ability to trade or transfer take rights. But they would be expected to share the burden should scarcity thresholds be triggered.

Phase Two RMA reforms – bigger than Ben Hur?

14 December 2011

The Phase One reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA) in the Government’s first term were substantial but Phase Two, scheduled for next year, promises to be bigger. This Brief Counsel looks at the likely shape of the reform programme.

NPS reduces RMA barriers to renewable electricity generation

14 April 2011

The National Policy Statement (NPS) for Renewable Electricity Generation takes effect on 13 May 2011 but gives territorial authorities a further 24 months to modify their planning documents. This Brief Counsel summarises the NPS’s provisions and provides a short commentary.

Making councils pay for missed RMA deadlines

22 February 2010

Developers frustrated by the lack of incentives on councils to process consent applications within statutory deadlines may soon be able to claim fee discounts of up to 80% when consent processes run over time and the local authority is at fault. The change was provided for in recent amendments to the Resource Management Act and the Ministry for the Environment is now seeking feedback on the regulations to implement the policy.

RM Bill better for select committee make-over

21 August 2009

The improvements made to the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill (the Bill) provide a useful reminder of how much can be achieved through solid engagement in the select committee submissions process. This Brief Counsel looks at the Bill as it has emerged from the Committee.

Committee "make-over" improves RMA Amendment Bill

18 August 2009

The Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Bill is better for the make-over it got from the select committee, says Chapman Tripp partner John Hassan.

What to expect from Phase Two of the resource management reforms

16 July 2009

Officials will next month deliver to Environment Minister Nick Smith the first of what will be six monthly progress reports on the Government’s Phase Two resource management reforms. The report will begin scoping the different work streams. This Brief Counsel looks at the Phase Two work programme and provides some guidance on how business might best engage with it.

Filing fee for RMA appeals to increase from May 7

16 April 2009

The first of the National Government’s reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA) regime will come into effect on 7 May 2009 when the filing fee for commencing most RMA appeals or inquiries in the Environment Court will increase from $55 to $500.

RM Bill: questions and answers

24 March 2009

From 24 to 26 February, Chapman Tripp ran a Hothouse seminar: Understanding the changes to the Resource Management Act. A series of questions and answers were generated from this exercise.

RMA reform: what does it mean?

04 February 2009

The Government announced its first round of changes to the RMA yesterday. Businesses looking for faster processes and more certain outcomes will find a number of the proposed changes helpful. Potentially, too, the changes should make councils more accountable to their communities for their planning processes – a welcome development.

PODCAST - Changing the RMApodcast

22 January 2009

The Resource Management Act is to be reviewed - again. The Government is hurrying to introduce legislation when Parliament sits again in February. Chapman Tripp partner John Hassan talks to Linda Clark about this difficult and controversial law and the process for changing it.

RMA reform good for NZ

12 January 2009

One of the biggest bills on the parliamentary agenda at the start of this year will be a bill to amend the Resource Management Act. The Government is planning two rounds of RMA reform – one in February and a further one later in the year, probably September.

RMA shake up – the biggest yet?

01 December 2008

The Government’s commitment to a thoroughgoing reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA) is most welcome as there is much room for improvement. This Counsel looks at the reasons the RMA is failing and suggests some positive practical changes.

National's infrastructure policy

17 November 2008

National’s infrastructure policy is aimed at increasing New Zealand’s medium term productivity growth. Here, we outline more details of the policy and its implications.

The National Government’s first round reforms of the RMA

11 November 2008

National is committed within the first 100 days to what Nick Smith has described as the "biggest reform" of the Resource Management Act since the RMA was introduced in 1991.