Today’s introduction of two Bills to Parliament to replace the Resource Management Act marks a long-awaited milestone that can be celebrated. Infrastructure New Zealand (INZ), on behalf of its members, has long advocated for a change to our current overly-complicated, expensive and time-consuming planning system.
The two Bills introduced today, the Natural and Built Environment Act and the Spatial Planning Act, promise to provide more certainty for the delivery of infrastructure. Both Bills represent a significant shift in focus to prioritise the front end of the planning process, rather than relying on the current individual project consenting battleground, which results in expensive and delay-ridden bespoke solutions.
It is hoped that the proposed National Planning Framework will be robust and comprehensive enough to provide industry with a consistent direction, and streamline the development of the Regional Spatial Strategies and Natural and Built Environment Plans which sit below.
Many infrastructure providers operate nationally, and there is a significant cost to navigating the existing number of individual plan rules and provisions unique to each region, city or district. This has contributed to the 150% increase in time to consent infrastructure projects between 2010 and 2019, and the associated millions of dollars of increased cost to the public. INZ welcomes that the complex maze of more than 100 district and regional plans and various additional regional policy statements will be thinned to just 15 Regional Spatial Strategies and 15 Natural and Built Environment Plans.
Policy Director, Michelle McCormick states, “This reform is a once in a generation opportunity to improve the planning system. It’s imperative that Aotearoa has a modern responsive planning playing field that allows us to get on with addressing our $210 billion infrastructure deficit”.
While the devil is in the detail (and there is over 900 pages worth of it between both Bills), INZ remains optimistic that these new game rules will contribute to a simpler, faster, cheaper and more responsive approach to enable the development of the key infrastructure that Aotearoa so desperately needs to support our communities.
INZ looks forward to making submissions to the Select Committee in due course and participating in the development of the National Planning Framework.
Dale Owens on 021 088 89844