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Hawke's Bay Regional Council Welcomes RMA Review Report

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council welcomes today’s independent review panel report on the Resource Management Act.

The New Directions for Resource Management report is a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act (RMA), delivered by a government-appointed independent review panel, led by retired Court of Appeal Judge Tony Randerson QC.

Regional Council Chair Rex Graham acknowledges the huge body of work behind today’s report, based on substantial analysis and engagement.

“Combining the region’s various planning documents into one regional spatial plan, which incorporates the regional transport plan, and ensures our urban development is managed in a way that directly protects soil, water, air and coast makes enormous sense. The region’s mayors and I have been discussing this concept for some time and new legislation would help us achieve this," says Mr Graham.

“Environmental drivers for change aren’t currently well-supported by the RMA. It’s the pressures on land and water in our natural environment, pressures on our marine ecosystems, the pressing issue of climate change and reducing emissions,” adds Mr Graham.

Regional Council Deputy-Chair Rick Barker acknowledged the value of the RMA when first introduced in 1991, but drew attention to the shortfalls now hindering efficient environmental management.

“The RMA was world-leading in its day. It introduced a sustainable management approach, a focus on managing the effects of landowners and resource users on others and the environment. Its intent has served us well, but is now past its use-by date,” says Mr Barker.

“We welcome the focus on climate change, including the proposed Managed Retreat and Climate Adaptation Act, which would support the work we are doing around coastal hazards with Napier City and Hastings District councils,” adds Mr Barker.

Many of the issues identified by the review are issues experienced by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, according to Chief Executive James Palmer.

“The challenges associated with managing freshwater, land use, biodiversity, air and climate create challenges for us every day. These are not easily resolved under the current Act,” says Mr Palmer.

“The proposed changes are the biggest in New Zealand’s environmental management history. They will require major work to implement and will have big implications for the environmental work of the Regional Council. We look forward to the Government’s response in due course,” adds Mr Palmer.

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