New RMA legislation introduced to Parliament
27 November 2022
On Tuesday 15 November, the Minister for the Environment David Parker introduced legislation to Parliament for a comprehensive reform of New Zealand’s resource management system – the Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill.
The framework will replace the Resource Management Act 1991 and seeks to rapidly accelerate the supply of housing where the demand for housing is high. This will help to address some of the issues with housing choice and affordability that Aotearoa New Zealand currently faces in its largest cities.
The Natural and Built Environment Bill will be the primary replacement for the RMA. It will set out rules for land use and resource allocation within regions with a National Planning Framework (NPF) highlighting national policy, desired outcomes, limits on environment degradation and targets.
The new law, if passed, will also require territorial authorities in Aotearoa New Zealand’s major cities to set more permissive land use regulations that will enable greater intensification in urban areas by bringing forward and strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (the NPS-UD).
The NPF will replace the Government’s current national directions, such as policy statements on water or air quality, bringing those under one umbrella framework. Informed by the NPF, regions will be required to develop a Natural and Built Environment Plan (NBE). These will replace the currently more than 100 district and region plans, making consenting and planning rules more consistent.
The Spatial Planning Bill will inform longer-term planning, with local committees required to develop 30-year regional spatial strategies (RSS). Regions’ new RSS will be accompanied by high-level plans that set out how regions will deliver on their priority actions. Resource consents will still be the primary land use or resource allocation approval method, but more standardised across a region. According to Government, NPF and NBE will allow more activities to be undertaken without resource consent.
We are currently working our way through the implications of the proposed changes. It is anticipated that there will be a six-month consultation process at select committees so we have some time to work on our submission. We will be working closely with the New Zealand Property Council on our response. We will keep you updated on the timeframes and discussions throughout the consultation process.
For further information on the proposed changes to the RMA legislation and the response of Property Council New Zealand visit:
RMA reforms aim to make housing and urban system simpler, faster, cheaper | Beehive.govt.nz
A shiny new system or the Wazgij of planning systems? - Property Council New Zealand (propertynz.co.nz)
What does a future without the Resource Management system look like for the property sector? - Property Council New Zealand (propertynz.co.nz)