Most Read Contributor in New Zealand, September 2016
Further streamlining of the resource management regime
and a new one-off process for preparing the Auckland Unitary Plan
were introduced in Parliament yesterday as part of the
Resource Management Reform Bill.
The omnibus Bill amends the Resource Management Act 1991
(RMA), the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act
2010 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act
Provisions in the Bill include:
the new process for preparing Auckland's first Unitary Plan
(referred to in the Bill as the "Auckland combined
plan"), which includes submissions to an independent hearing
panel coupled with limited appeal rights
streamlining the RMA to introduce a 6-month consenting
timeframe for medium-sized projects, and to provide for direct
referral of regional projects (based on an investment threshold to
be established in regulations).
These amendments were signalled in
announcements in October. Chapman Tripp's earlier
commentary provides further information regarding the
Unitary Plan process, and we will be reporting separately in
more detail on this aspect of the Bill.
The Bill also includes various other changes to the RMA, many of
which will affect local authorities and applicants more generally,
new s32 report requirements for plans and policy statements,
with a greater emphasis on quantitative assessment of costs and
benefits and the need to consider regional economic impact and
changes to the information required for resource consent
applications (including a new Schedule 4), and
amendments relating to timeframes for processing applications
and "stopping the clock".
Another tranche of amendments to the RMA is still to come as
part of the Government's wider
Phase II reform agenda, with consultation on other changes
expected next year.
The information in this article is for informative purposes
only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact
Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.
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The Government aims to tighten laws regulating the taking of groundwater for mining activities by resource proponents.
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