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Some proposed RMA reforms unworkable, says LGNZ

Some proposed RMA reforms unworkable, says LGNZ

21 March 2013

A number of the Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) are unworkable and would impose significant new costs on councils, said Local Government New Zealand today.

Making an oral submission on the Resource Management Reform Bill to Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee, LGNZ’s Regional Sector Chair, Fran Wilde, said the changes to environmental reporting requirements had the potential to be positive.

“The sector could live with a six month timeframe for medium sized consents, at least in principle, but the associated changes to the consenting provisions don’t make sense. They are very prescriptive, hard to understand and would require councils to pay for expensive technology upgrades. This would not be money well spent. Councils don’t support these and think they are unnecessary.

“LGNZ recommends going back to the drawing board and not changing the way working days are calculated under the RMA. We want to sit down with central government and find a workable solution.

“We support the clarity given to the evaluations required for RMA policy and plan changes and we support lifting the bar for pre-notification plan analysis.”

However, Ms Wilde also questioned the increase in red tape and bureaucracy for simple consents.

“This does not align with the Government’s objectives or with changes signalled in the recently-released discussion document on the RMA. These will be focussed on streamlining processes and exempting some activities from consenting requirements, yet here we have the other hand of the Government pushing through a Bill that will add cost and complexity for applicants and councils alike.”


Notes for editor
1. The local government sector is performing well on consenting. For the 2010/2011 year, 94 per cent of applications were non-notified, 0.56 per cent of resource consent applications were declined and 95 per cent of applications were processed on time. These are the latest Ministry for the Environment statistics.

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