The third round of Resource Management Act amendments which included an overhaul of the core principles of the Act are now on hold, following the refusal of the Maori Party and United Future to support them.

Key elements of the reforms include:

  • clearer and more predictable national direction and tools, for example what National Policy Statements and National Environment Standards can achieve and how they might be used;
  • replacing the current range of planning documents with single, local resource management plans that address future environmental and development priorities and cover all local, regional and national issues;
  • simpler, faster and fewer resource consents;
  • Maori interests and values to be considered earlier in resource management planning processes with solutions developed upfront;
  • Comprehensive management of natural hazards in planning and consenting.

There is also a range of measures to address housing affordability, with this issue being explicitly recognised in plans and changes to consenting arrangements. While there was wide cross party support for these housing proposals, the Government regards these measures as part of the wider package of proposals to improve New Zealand's resource management system and therefore considers these measures should not be addressed in isolation from the other proposed reforms.

Given the on-going debate regarding consenting issues and housing affordability, these proposed reforms remain a live issue.

It is expected that the reforms will be re-introduced after the September election.

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