Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

New study prepares for RMA shake-up

New study prepares for RMA shake-up

A major review of New Zealand’s environmental management system has been launched in anticipation of fundamental reform of the Resource Management Act.

The Environmental Defence Society review launched today, New Zealand’s Resource Management Law: the Next Generation, is made possible by $356,000 of New Zealand Law Foundation funding. The 18-month project will study New Zealand experience and international best practice in environmental management law and make evidence-based recommendations for change.

EDS CEO Gary Taylor says that a back-to-basics reform of the Resource Management Act and related legislation is inevitable regardless of who wins this year’s general election. The EDS review will ensure high-quality thinking is done in advance to help shape the new regime.

‘The RMA was world-leading when enacted 26 years ago, but New Zealand is now a very different place – changing demographics, growth pressures and reaching environmental limits mean that a fundamental rethink is needed,” Gary says.

“Now that the latest RMA amendments have been enacted, the National-led Government or any new government post-election is likely to launch a major reform initiative in 2018, possibly involving a royal commission or similar. We want to hit the ground running with some properly researched and evidenced ideas.”

Among the issues up for debate will be the complexity of current arrangements, the role of local authorities, central government and the courts and involvement of citizens in environmental decisions and planning.

“One of the outcomes we will seek is more simplicity and efficiency in the process. There needs to be less drag, less time consumed. But at the same time, the community has expectations around environmental bottom-lines that must be met.

“We expect our project will produce a small range of scenarios, different ways of approaching reform. There would then need to be a more detailed working-up of a preferred option,” Gary says.

EDS has a strong track record of research and analysis promoting good environmental governance. The Law Foundation has backed a series of focused EDS think-pieces in recent years, including Vanishing Nature, a 2015 book highlighting the plight of New Zealand’s threatened species.

The well-publicised EDS reports have attracted favourable attention from policy makers. Gary says that recommendations for better compliance and enforcement in the latest EDS publication, Last Line of Defence, are being adopted by government agencies.

“Various agencies that were criticised in that report are picking up on the recommendations and starting to implement them. DOC is a case in point – it is picking them all up. Our findings shattered some pre-conceptions, for example that regional councils aren’t very good at monitoring, compliance and enforcement. We found that they are generally doing well in this area, but that central government is falling short.”

Gary says the progression of recent EDS reports has built the foundation for a rethink of the whole system. The RMA review project, launched on 1 July, is by far the largest backed by the Law Foundation.

“It’s great to have the support of an organisation that takes a very progressive view of the world. Often funding will proscribe the kind of outcome that might be sought, but the Law Foundation is completely open-minded: once it has identified a topic of interest and relevance, it’s keen to encourage creative, properly researched and innovative thinking,” Gary concluded.

Law Foundation Executive Director Lynda Hagen says that, as an independent charitable trust, the Foundation is uniquely well-placed to support projects of this type.

“As New Zealand’s major funder of independent legal research, we have a strong track record of supporting projects that contribute to long-term policy development,” she says.

“The EDS project is a classic example: it’s preparing the ground for major reform that’s not happening tomorrow, but is not far down the track.”

END

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election