RMA Amendment up for second reading

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Wellington, March 6, 2017

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the Local Government and Environment Committees report on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.

This legislation improves New Zealands environmental management, helps increase the supply and affordability of housing and supports jobs and growth. It contains 40 proposals that make significant changes to five different Acts and is the most comprehensive package of reform to the Resource Management Act since its inception 25 years ago, he said.

This is the second phase of the Governments resource management reforms, and the dozen significant provisions in the Bill include:

  1. National planning standards to reduce complexity and cost
  2. Streamlined planning process to improve responsiveness
  3. Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents
  4. Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks
  5. New 10-day consent category for minor activities
  6. New requirements for council to free up land for housing
  7. New provisions to enable stock exclusion from waterways
  8. New provisions requiring decommissioning plans for offshore platforms
  9. More generous compensation for land required for public works
  10. Better alignment with other Acts like Reserves, Conservation and EEZ
  11. Collaborative planning process to encourage community-led solutions
  12. Improved Maori participation arrangements

Pact with Maori

The Maori Party reached agreement with the Government to support the Bill through all remaining stages in Parliament following detailed consideration of the initial policy and the inclusion of proposed changes to strengthen the original Iwi Participation Agreement. The Mana Whakahono Rohe/Iwi Participation Agreement provides a better framework for councils to meet their existing obligations to consult with local iwi. Many councils already have these agreements through Treaty settlements or good practice. The Government supports these provisions because we want iwi involved in how natural resources are managed and because formalising the process will help achieve better outcomes with less delays and costs, Dr Smith said.

Describing the Amendment as a Huge Bill, he said that the Maori Party is not a member of the Select Committee.

They need time to digest all of the select committees detailed changes to ensure they are consistent with their agreement with the Government. I will be meeting with the Maori Party co-leaders on ensuring we have got the detail right, he said.

The Bill will come back to the House for its second reading this week.

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Dr Nick Smith

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