RMA reform to address key concerns for local government
LGNZ supports the Government’s proposal to wind back a number of Resource Management Act changes that excluded public consultation requirements, a move councils strongly opposed when they were introduced in 2017.
The changes, outlined in a recent cabinet paper, would reduce the complexity of the Act, remove regulation making powers and override provisions, restore public participation provisions and financial contributions.
“Local government raised a red flag around the RMA changes in 2017, knowing they would threaten the public’s ability to have a say, create problems for infrastructure providers and hinder councils’ ability to give effect to updated standards without needing to go through long and cumbersome processes,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
Change to the broad regulation-making powers that enabled the Minister for the Environment to override councils has also been proposed, who will still retain some national direction powers via National Environmental Standards and National Policy Statements.
“Local government supports a collaborative approach with the Ministry for the Environment, through clear communication and engagement. The 2017 changes were a ham-fisted way to try and achieve this, and we’re pleased to see that the government has faith in a more effective process.”
“LGNZ will be working with the government on this reform package to ensure they can be easily implemented. We are also keen to work on the signalled changes to the role of the EPA in enforcement activities, as we are not convinced they are the best way to achieve the outcomes sought.”