Environmental / Resource Management

Changes to proposed plans beyond the scope of appeals

Created: Wednesday, 29 June 2016 15:46

In the course of resolving appeals on the provisions of a proposed plan, it is sometimes necessary to seek the Court's approval of changes to the plan that are beyond the scope of appeals – for instance, to facilitate the 'in scope' aspects of settlements reached with the parties.

Section 293 of the Resource Management Act 1991 provides a discretionary power to the Environment Court – to be exercised cautiously and sparingly – to direct that such changes be made, where there is a live plan appeal on a proposed plan.  A recent decision, Kahuranaki Station Ltd and Greenwood v Hastings District Council, provides a good illustration of the Court applying section 293 in a pragmatic way.

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Cherry picking points on Appeal

Created: Tuesday, 14 June 2016 15:46

Can the Environment Court appeal process be limited by a Council's reasons for refusal?

Appellants challenging Council decisions refusing resource consent in the Environment Court occasionally argue that the range of matters for consideration by the Court on appeal should be regarded as limited by the Council's reasons for refusal.

The appellants advanced just such a jurisdictional argument (unsuccessfully) in a recent Environment Court case, Engebretsen & Song v Whangarei District Council [2016] NZEnvC 086.

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Proposed NPS on Urban Development Capacity Released – 2 June 2016

Created: Thursday, 02 June 2016 14:17

Minister Nick Smith has announced the release of the Government's proposed National Policy Statement (Proposed NPS) on Urban Development Capacity for public consultation.  Relevant information, including a copy of the consultation document, may be viewed by accessing the Ministry for the Environment's website here.

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Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 changes more than just RMA

Created: Wednesday, 16 December 2015 01:19

Continuing Brookfields commentary on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill ("the Bill"), we look at changes that go to legislation beyond the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA").

One of the key objectives of the Bill is to achieve better alignment and integration across the resource management system.  In order to accomplish this, the Bill provides for a number of amendments to other statutes in order to streamline the processes to be followed, and to reduce time-consuming duplication.  The key changes to other statutes are set out below.

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Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015: Changes to consenting

Created: Wednesday, 16 December 2015 00:19

This article discusses changes to the consenting process that have been introduced in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill).  Our previous articles discussing other changes contained in the Bill can be found on Brookfield’s Environment/Resource Management webpage.

The Bill introduces a number of measures that aim to simplify the consenting process – essentially by reducing the requirements for consents.  Among others, the Bill provides Councils with discretion to not require a resource consent for minor issues, introduces a 10-day ‘fast-track’ process for simple consents, and removes requirements for consents where they are already required under other Acts.  Minister for the Environment, Hon Nick Smith, has predicted that the suite of measures will “reduce the number of consents required each year by thousands.”   Key amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) as proposed by the Bill are outlined below:

Introducing ‘fast-track’ applications

  • The Bill creates ‘fast-track’ applications that are designed to speed up the consenting process for simple resource consents.  Fast-track applications are proposed to apply to applications that are controlled, other than subdivision of land (proposed s 87AAC(1)).
  • In addition, a proposed section 360F provides the Minister with the ability to prescribe certain activities or classes of activities as fast-tracked, so long as he or she is satisfied that they are of an appropriately small scale and complexity.
  • If an application is fast-tracked, a consent authority has 10 working days (as opposed to the regular 20) from the application being lodged to advise the applicant whether the application will be notified or not (s 87AAD). 
  • If an application is notified, or a hearing is held, the application will cease to be fast-tracked.
  • In all other ways a fast-tracked application is treated as a regular application under the RMA.

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Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015: National Direction

Created: Monday, 14 December 2015 08:00

We recently reported on the introduction of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) by Minister of the Environment, Hon Nick Smith. Click here for information relating to, and a copy of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.

"The overarching purpose of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) is to create a resource management system that achieves the efficient and sustainable management of natural and physical resources".

Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

The Bill proposes amendments to the national direction of resource management law in several ways discussed in further detail below. However, the legislation also proposes amendments in the following areas, each of which we will be commenting on in the coming weeks.

  • the current plan making process
  • the consenting process
  • courts and appeals
  • process alignment

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