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RMA improvements good news for commercial property industry

RMA improvements good news for commercial property industry

Property Council welcomes further Resource Management Act reforms to bring consenting times down to an acceptable level.

Yesterday, Prime Minister John Key and Minister for the Environment Nick Smith announced phase II RMA reforms, including reducing consenting delays for medium sized projects.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said new industrial developments, subdivisions, retail development and regional infrastructure were often stymied because of red tape and delays.

“Our members have consistently reported their sheer frustration in consenting delays that are enormously costly and that stifle progress.

“Property Council has long advocated for reform to unlock business growth and employment. The commercial property industry is a significant growth-enabler contributing heavily to the national economy.”

The government also plans to review the criteria for what is recognised and provided for under the RMA, to better manage urban environments.

“A key recommendation from the Urban Technical Advisory Group last year, which was formed to advise the Minister on phase II RMA reform, was to recognise the built and urban environment within the RMA rather than focusing solely on the natural and biophysical environment.

“We welcome changes that will give a quality urban environment statutory recognition and context, although the RMA needs to strike a balance between matters of national significance and the urban environment that may differ from one community to the next.”

Development contributions

Property Council argues RMA reform needs to go further on development contributions by immediately providing for merit-based appeals to the Environment Court of both development and reserve contributions.

Property Council has advocated for the legal application of contributions, along with the introduction of an appeal process. Previous High Court cases have resulted in local authorities using taxpayer funds to unsuccessfully defend their policies, including the well-known Neil Construction Limited and others against North Shore City Council in 2007.

Property Council also argues development contributions should be levied at the end of a development project, before code compliance is issued, or before a building can be occupied.

“We agreed with the findings of a technical discussion document, Building Competitive Cities, last year, which found that development contributions imposed long-run infrastructure costs upfront on the developer, rather than on the property user over the life of the infrastructure.”

Property Council New Zealand
Property Council is New Zealand’s commercial property voice. Property Council represents New Zealand's office, industrial, retail, property funds and multi unit residential property owners, investors and managers. Property Council’s branches throughout the country represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, East Coast/Hawkes Bay and the South Island, the value of which exceeds $30 billion.

ENDS

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