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


Resource Management Review - the devil is in the democracy

The Resource Management Review - the devil is in the democracy (how much will be allowed?) says DLA Piper

26 July 2019

The Government has released draft Terms of Reference for the Resource Management Review Panel to be chaired by the Hon. Tony Randerson QC. With him will be an expert advisory group.

The Resource Management Act is now 28 years old, and successive governments have attempted many reforms since its inception, says DLA Piper partner Stephen Quinn; “due to these numerous reforms, the current state of the Act is a legislative muddle.”

Appointments to the panel will be made by Cabinet, of individuals with skills across a range of relevant areas. Stephen Quinn says “The difficulty we have assessing the likely efficacy of any reforms is a current lack of information as to the drivers and outcomes sought. Two problems have been identified as urgent: the need for low-cost housing, and the state of NZ’s waterways. Despite their importance, those examples are a small percentage of everything dealt with under the RMA, and larger systemic issues need to be the focus.”

The review will prioritise setting a high level framework for an improved system: removing unnecessary complexity; aligning land use planning and regulation with infrastructure planning and funding through spatial planning; considering whether or not to separate statutory provision for land use planning and environmental protection; and allocating roles between central and local government, the Environment Court, and other institutions.

“One big question is what will the Government do about public participation?” says Stephen Quinn. “Public participation underpins most parts of the Act, but it inevitably slows processes down. A current example is the review of the district plan in Queenstown. It involves large numbers of appeals and hundreds of participants in the Environment Court processes, which will take many months to work through.”

“While the focus of problems raised is frequently on resource consent processes, a key aspect of the RMA that receives less focus” he says, “is the process for making plans. Plans directs whether activities such as housing even needs a resource consent. Plan changes by councils take time. The amendment to the Act in 2017 allowing fast-tracking processes has had very little uptake. You can limit public participation or tighten the time frames using that process.”

Stephen Quinn thinks central Government needs to take the lead in charting a new course for the RMA. “The task has predominantly been left to councils for the last twenty years or so. The more recent approach of express national direction and/or encouraging the use of the streamline planning process could help to expedite processes and achieve consistency.”

The draft Terms of Reference indicate the report is due with the Minister at the end of May 2020, with an issues and options paper to be presented in October this year. These are extremely tight timeframes given the magnitude of the Panel's task.

Stephen Quinn has depth and breadth of experience acting for Crown entities, SOEs, government departments and local government, with emphasis on resource management (RMA), environmental law, and building law. He appears in council hearings, the Environment Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels