“We are pleased to see progress on the repeal and
replacement of the Resource Management Act 1991, but the proposal to split land
use planning and strategic planning risks increases uncertainty for the
Government, iwi, communities of interest and infrastructure providers,” says
Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand.
“The proposal outlined by Environment Minister Parker today
retains the basic legislative architecture recommended by the Randerson Review Panel last year.
“A new Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) will replace
the body of the RMA, but will retain the RMA’s combined approach to
environmental protection and land use planning. A new Strategic Planning Act
will consolidate functions currently spread across the Local Government Act and
Land Transport Management Act to enable integrated spatial planning.
“In addition, a new Climate Change Adaptation Act will be
established to facilitate managed retreat and other issues resulting from
“Positively, the Government has moved to reduce the large
number of statutory plans required under the RMA and we could in the future see
as few as 14 combined plans overseeing land use planning and environmental
“However, the proposal to integrate environmental protection
with land use planning means that the Government proposes to continue
separating land use planning from strategic planning.
“This will mean that strategic spatial plans agreed by
Government, iwi, councils and local communities will have to proceed through a
separate legislative process under the NBA before implementation.
“What happens if a project or development critical to
realisation of an agreed regional spatial plan conflicts with an outcome or
objective under the NBA?
“If the answer is litigation, uncertainty and poor delivery
of critical services and homes, then these reforms will have failed.
“A better outcome would be achieved if environmental
protection was split from planning, establishing firm bottom lines which truly protect
“Strategic and land use planning could then be much more
tightly integrated to achieve economic, social, cultural and environmental
outcomes above and beyond bottom lines.
“Regulation under an Environmental Protection Act would be
used to protect the things which cannot be compromised. Investment under a
Planning Act would deliver the kind of New Zealand we all want.
“This simplified architecture would better align with
much-needed reforms to funding and financing of public services and improvements to the capacity and capability of delivery agencies.
“It would also increase the certainty that regionally agreed plans will be delivered as and when required, helping boost confidence in our planning and development system.”
For further information and
comment contact Hamish Glenn on 021 034 7229