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Resource Management Act Update

NZ $45.00
incl GST
Author(s): Derek Nolan, Royden Somerville QC
Published: 29 October, 2001
Pages: 98


The current Resource Management Act (“RMA”) amendments have been a long time in the making. The original bill was introduced into Parliament on 13 July 1999, and was referred to the Select Committee.

The Resource Management Amendment Bill (“the Bill”) incorporated a number of technical and “tidy up” changes, which have largely been retained in the Bill reported back from Select Committee. The original bill also incorporated a number of substantive changes aimed at minimising costs and delays associated with RMA practice and procedures. These amendments arose out of a government review and consultation process which began in August 1997.

In the lead-up to the November 1999 elections, the Labour/Alliance proposed coalition indicated that if they were elected, they would revise the Bill to delete amendments relating to contestable processing of resource consent applications, the mandatory use of independent commissioners on request, and the direct referral of consent applications to the Environment Court. It was also indicated that they would not proceed with amendments relating to archaeological controls and the statutory role of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The Bill reported back from the Environment and Local Government Select Committee on 8 May 2001 deletes these provisions. However, the Select Committee surprised many people by making even further changes to the Act. Some commentators have suggested that the Amendment Bill, taken overall, will add to delays and costs, rather than reduce them as originally intended. The key remaining provisions of the Bill, as reported back by the Select Committee, are discussed in detail below.

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