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Better approach to decision making under RMA

Media release

10 August 2013

Better approach to decision making under RMA

Proposals released today to improve the Resource Management Act and its implementation are sensible, says BusinessNZ.

Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the proposals address many of the problems with the Act that are holding back development, restricting new housing, and making New Zealanders poorer.

“The proposed reforms show public concerns have been listened to,” Mr O’Reilly said.

He said there would be widespread support for provisions that will make a difference to average New Zealanders –

· More transparency around consenting;

· Requiring councils to ensure that restrictions placed on the use of private land are reasonable;

· Requiring councils to ensure there is adequate land supply to provide for at least 10 years of projected growth in their areas;

· Fast-track processes for simple consent applications;

· Exemptions from the need for a consent where the effects on the environment and people of a proposed project would be so minor as to be effectively indistinguishable from projects allowed without a consent;

· Requiring councils to be clearer about the reasons why particular consents are required and the particular effects on the environment of proposed projects;

· A reversal of the presumption that subdivision is restricted unless expressly permitted in a plan – so that a subdivision can be undertaken unless it contravenes a national environment standard, or a rule in a plan or proposed plan;

· More ability to object to consenting decisions without having to appeal to the Environment Court;

· Requiring councils to monitor how they are delivering their functions and duties under the RMA, including timeliness, cost, user satisfaction and performance against environmental and economic indicators;

· More clarity around the role of central government in cases where councils fail to adequately deliver on priorities.

“These planning changes will make a great difference to the average New Zealander seeking to own or develop a home or business, while at the same time continuing to safeguard our shared physical environment.

“But such changes don’t fully address the Act’s unnecessary regulation of private rights in the name of the public interest. The Act requires a clearer commitment to the protection of property rights. There should be provision for compensation if people are restricted from developing their own land where there is no harm to others or to the environment.

“I hope there will be significant public discussion of these and other proposed changes during the period when they are integrated into legislation later this year,” Mr O’Reilly said.


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