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Proposed amendments to the Resource Management Act

Amendments to the Resource Management Act are being considered by Parliament. The main objectives of the Resource Management Amendment Bill (No 2) 2003 are to:

· reduce compliance costs

· simplify the use of national instruments (national environmental standards and national policy statements)

· strengthen historic heritage provisions

· make a number of miscellaneous amendments relating to the Act’s implementation.

This Bill replaces the amendment bill introduced in 1999 and reported back from Select Committee in May 2001. The current bill is virtually the same as it was in May 2001.

On 28 April 2003 the Resource Management Amendment Bill 2003 (No 2) was reported back by the Local Government and Environment Committee. The Committee highlighted five key changes from the reported back version of the Resource Management Amendment Bill 1999. These are:

· a focused notification process for minor effect applications where affected party approvals have not been obtained (limited notification) http://www.mfe.govt.nz/laws/rma/amendments-limited-notification.html

· not providing the ability to challenge non-notification decisions on resource consent applications in the Environment Court (i.e. it will maintain the status quo)

· clarifying the implementation of national environment standards. In particular to remove the potential for inconsistency between a national environmental standard and a rule or resource consent, by ensuring the more restrictive provisions prevail

· providing flexibility applying the permitted baseline test to determine the effects of activities for resources consents are sought and whether a person is adversely affected

· the inclusion of transitional provision relating the to aquaculture moratorium (new section 68A(3)).

The main changes recommended by the Local Government and Environment Committee are to the application of the permitted baseline test codified in the Bill. The discretionary application of the permitted baseline that occurred in notification of resource consents is carried into the substantive (grant or refuse) decision under section 104. The committee has also sought to clarify that it is only effects of activities permitted as of right by a plan that should be included as part of the permitted baseline. The reasons for the amendments are clearly outlined in the Committee’s commentary. A small number of other minor amendments are made to correct cross-references or clarify drafting.

A copy of the Local Government and Environment Committee’s report is available from the link below or it can be purchased through Bennetts Government Bookshop.

· Local Government and Environment Committee’s report on the Resource Management Amendment Bill (No 2) (PDF 1.83 MB) http://www.mfe.govt.nz/laws/rma/rma-amendment-bill-no2-reported-back.pdf




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