Environmental / Resource Management

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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Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015: Amendments to the plan making provisions

Created: Monday, 14 December 2015 22:56

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) proposes a suite of amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA) so as to achieve the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in an efficient and equitable way. In particular, the Bill proposes a number of changes to the plan making processes in the RMA.

The Bill introduces two new planning tracks, resulting in a total of three different tracks by which a council can produce a plan:

  1. The existing track which now has tighter timeframes;
  2. A new collaborative track to encourage greater front-end public engagement, intended to produce plans that better reflect community values and thereby reduce litigation costs and lengthy delays; and
  3. A new streamlined track to provide for more flexibility in planning processes and time frames and allow these to be tailored to specific issues and circumstances.

Other amendments relevant to plan making include:

  1. Insertion of new Subpart 1 of Part 5 (Standards, policy statements and plans) relating to a National Planning Template;
  2. Insertion of new Subpart 2 of Part 5 relating to iwi engagement; and
  3. Miscellaneous amendments to Schedule 1.

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The local alcohol policy predicament - striking a balance

Created: Friday, 27 November 2015 21:27

"The principle under which we have approached this review is that New Zealanders live in a free and democratic society.  They are subject only to such limitation in their freedom as can be justified in such a society.  They have liberty to behave as they choose as long as their actions respect the rights of others and are not contrary to the law.  Public policy decisions that are made to restrict activity have to be justified by strong arguments that it is in the public interest that individuals and corporations do not exercise their freedom in particular ways".

Foreword to the Law Commission Report,  Alcohol in our lives: curbing the harm

The above extract is an appropriate summary of the local alcohol policy (LAP) dilemma we have continuously been exposed to over the last three years. Some territorial authorities claim that the larger commercial alcohol operators are monopolising the LAP process under the current legislation, which ultimately fails to provide communities with greater participation in the process, or , consequently to deliver on the object of the Act.  Alcohol operators on the other hand contend that the lack of empirical evidence produced by territorial authorities in the production of their LAPs means unreasonable restrictions are imposed without justification.

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