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Government Consults On Extending Coastal Permits For Ports

Hon Chris Bishop
Minister Responsible for RMA Reform

Hon Simeon Brown
Minister of Transport

 17 April 2024

RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations.

“The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal permits to continue their operations. These permits were for activities they were undertaking at the time and had a duration of 35 years,” says Chris Bishop.

“Since then, ports have expanded and obtained permits for new activities, but the complexity of gaining permits for pre-1991 activities has become increasingly difficult. We are taking action to extend these permits by a further 20 years so that port companies have continued certainty for carrying out their activities.

“This is another example of how the Resource Management Act has created high levels of regulatory complexity and imposed compliance costs upon the New Zealand economy. Boosting productivity is a key part of our plan to rebuild the economy, which is why it is essential we extend port coastal permits to provide firms with the certainty they need to continue their operations.”

The extension of ports’ coastal permits is aligned with the National-NZ First coalition agreement commitment to facilitate the development and efficiency of ports and strengthen international supply networks.

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“Ports play a crucial role in our economy. They provide essential connectivity to inland and overseas markets, and they generate jobs and support industries such as fishing and tourism. It is critical they have the certainty they need to operate effectively and do not face unnecessary regulatory costs,” Simeon Brown says.

“The existing permits are set to expire in September 2026. They cover crucial aspects of port activities like navigation aids such as buoys, lights and fog signals, exclusive occupation areas such as safe anchor areas, and some structures such as wharves. They do not cover landside operations, discharges to water or air, or dredging.

“We intend that the proposed extension will be included in our second Resource Management Act Amendment Bill to be introduced later this year. We will be consulting with key stakeholders and iwi on our proposal in the coming months.

“Over the next 20 years, all ports will have transitioned to permanent resource management arrangements,” Mr Brown says.

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