Environment, planning and natural resources updates

RMA reform to fast track shovel ready infrastructure (and other) projects
4 May 20

In the words of Minister Parker speaking on proposed Covid-19 reforms to the RMA; "these are extraordinary times that need extraordinary solutions". On Sunday 3 May 2020, the Government announced Cabinet approval to amend the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) through the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast ...

Te Waikoropupū Springs recognised for outstanding status in perpetuity
26 Mar 20

Special Tribunal recommend Water Conservation Order (WCO) over Te Waikoropupū Springs and her associated wai. After almost two years deliberation, the Special Tribunal appointed to hear an application for a WCO over Te Waikoropupū Springs and associated wai (water) has released its Report on the ...

Recent Prosecutions of Forestry Companies
24 Feb 20

Flooding in some regions of New Zealand over the past few years has highlighted the need for careful environmental management and monitoring of forestry estates, particularly in areas where there is a high risk of erosion due to the underlying terrain. Several forestry companies have ...

Government releases draft 10-year Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy for public consultation
28 Aug 19

The Minerals and Petroleum Strategy identifies the need to take action against the existential threat of climate change, and that the transition towards a low emissions economy needs to be a just one. Fossil fuels will continue to play a role in providing secure, affordable ...

National Policy Statement proposed for Urban Development
22 Aug 19

The Government released a discussion document on a proposed National Policy Statement for Urban Development (NPS-UD) on 21 August The purpose of the NPS-UD is to provide direction to local authorities under the Resource Management Act (RMA) about when and how urban areas should plan ...

National Policy Statement proposed for protection of Highly Productive Land
15 Aug 19

On 14 August 2019 the Ministry for the Environment (ME) and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) released a discussion document on a proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL). The purpose of the NPS-HPL is to improve the management of highly productive land, ...

Government 3 Waters Review
7 Aug 19

On 1 August 2019 the Government, by joint announcement from the Honourable Dr David Clark and the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, announced wide spread changes to manage the provision of drinking water and the management of storm water, and waste water reticulation and discharge. The Government ...

Reimagining the RMA: EDS Resource Management Reform Report
14 Feb 19

Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has released its Reform of the Resource Management System: The Next Generation Synthesis Report. The Report discusses the development of the resource management system, current challenges facing New Zealand, and potential paths for reform. The Report follows Phase 1 of the ...

25 Years of the RMA and CMA
29 Sep 16

1 October marks 25 years since both the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) came into force [1]. Both Acts represented significant reform and as Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC has said "The Resource Management Act Law Reform Project was the ...

Three more years of affordable housing legislation
7 Sep 16

The Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 ("HASHAA") first came into force on 16 September 2013. The purpose of the Act is to enhance housing affordability by facilitating an increase in land and housing supply in certain regions or districts identified as having ...

Super City Plan adopted
19 Aug 16

The Council's decision on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan is due to be released this afternoon (19 August). You will be able to view the final decision here: "AUP Decision". See our website article for further information on what the process has involved to date, ...

‘Super City’ Plan recommendations may make a political perfect storm
27 Jul 16

Today the Independent Hearings Panel will publicly release its recommendations to the Auckland Council for the first Auckland Unitary Plan. View the Panel's recommendations as they come live here: Understanding the Process The Unitary Plan is the first resource management plan developed for the Auckland ...

Councils under (housing) arrest
2 Jun 16

Government today released its proposed National Policy Statement Urban Development Capacity ("NPS-UDC"). This release follows on from high level consultation undertaken last year, see our article - An Entirely New Approach to Urban Planning in the Wind. The proposed NPS-UDC is one instrument in a ...

Resource Management Act reforms delayed
2 Jun 16

The progress of the Government's reform of the Resource Management Act 1991 has slowed. The Local Government and Environment Select Committee were due to report back on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill to the House on 3 July[1]. An extension has been sought and granted ...

Water Rights and the Supreme Court’s Decision
25 May 16

The Supreme Court's decision in Hampton v Canterbury District Council [2016] NZSC 50 is the latest in a lengthy series of litigation concerning the Hamptons and the important issue of what rights in a resource are granted by the issuing of a resource consent. In a ...

QLDC Funding and Rating Changes 2016
26 Apr 16

Queenstown Lakes District Council ("QLDC") has announced its latest changes to its Funding and Rating policies which form part of its 2016-2017 Annual Plan (the "Plan"). The Plan was notified on 6 April 2016 and submissions close to the public on 29 April 2016. Key ...

Capital Raising for Irrigation – Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013
18 Mar 16

Most directors will be familiar with the requirement to issue a prospectus under the old Securities Act 1978 ("Old Act") when an "offer to the public" is made. However, the old regime was recently replaced with the repealing of the Securities Act 1978 in favour ...

Proposed Changes to Freshwater Management
25 Feb 16

The Ministers for the Environment and Primary Industries have announced a range of proposed changes to a number of instruments to improve freshwater quality in a consultation document called "Next steps for fresh water". In making the announcement Hon Dr Nick Smith noted that New ...

An Entirely New Approach to Urban Planning in the Wind?
9 Dec 15

The Productivity Commission has released an Issues Paper - Better Urban Planning - calling for input on the future of urban planning in New Zealand.  The Issues Paper raises fundamental and wide-ranging questions about the planning system and suggests a complete re-think of the way ...

Government’s Long-awaited RMA Reforms Gain Support for First Reading
26 Nov 15

Today, after much anticipation, Hon Dr Nick Smith, Minister for the Environment, introduced the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill) into Parliament for its first reading. The government has been considering amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) since Minister Adams was in ...

Rural land in Queenstown Lakes District – What does the District Plan Review mean for you?
15 Oct 15

The District Plan Review (DPR) has been notified. Submissions from the public close on 23 October 2015. Many of the district's rural land has been re-zoned. In addition, the provisions relating to rural land are proposed to change significantly. There are three main categories of ...

Low Density Residential Zones – What does the Queenstown District Plan Review mean for you?
14 Oct 15

The District Plan Review has been notified. Submissions from the public close on 23 October 2015. Areas such as Kelvin Heights, most of Fernhill/Sunshine Bay, Frankton, uphill of Frankton Road, Arthurs Point, most of Arrowtown and much of Wanaka will remain zoned “Low Density Residential”. ...

Arrowtown Residents – What does the Queenstown District Plan Review mean for you?
13 Oct 15

The District Plan Review has been notified.  Submissions from the public close on 23 October 2015. Arrowtown is proposed to be zoned a mix of low density residential, medium density residential and Arrowtown Residential Historic Management Zone: http://www.qldc.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Planning/District-Plan/Maps/Map-27-Arrowtown.pdf. In the operative Plan, Arrowtown's zones are ...

New Zealand’s First Environmental Reporting Act
6 Oct 15

Parliament passed the Environmental reporting Act 2015 into law on Thursday 24 September. This legislation will make environmental reporting mandatory for the first time in New Zealand. The purpose of the legislation is simply 'to require regular reports on New Zealand's environment'. The Act also ...

Changes to Pool Safety Rules
5 Oct 15

The Building (Pools) Amendment Bill was introduced for its first reading on 16 September, amending the Building Act 2004 and repealing the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987. This Bill has implications for all owners of pools as well as developments incorporating water garden features ...

New President for the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand Inc.
2 Oct 15

Maree Baker-Galloway, Partner at Anderson Lloyd, specialising in environmental law and based in Queenstown, was elected President of the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand Inc (RMLA), at the Association’s recent annual conference held in Tauranga. Maree has been a member of the Association’s ...

Queenstown District Plan Review
11 Sep 15

Kelvin Heights - What does the Queenstown District Plan Review mean for you? The District Plan Review has been notified. Submissions from the public close on 23 October 2015. Kelvin Heights will be zoned the same as areas such as Fernhill/Sunshine Bay, Frankton, uphill of ...

Southland Water and Land Plan – Consultation
7 Aug 15

Environment Southland ("Council") has released a non-statutory consultation document "Towards a New Plan" in preparation for the Proposed Water and Land Plan ("the Plan"). The aim is to formally notify, and invite submissions on the Plan in early 2016; however this consultation stage is vital ...

New Proposed Standards for Forestry
4 Aug 15

Government has been working on the idea of a forestry national environmental standard (NES) for some time and has been consulting with a range of parties.  A NES is a regulation that prescribes technical standards that are imported into RMA plans.  This means that where ...

Christchurch Replacement District Plan – Stage 3 Notified
27 Jul 15

Stage 3 of the Christchurch Replacement District Plan has been notified, with submissions closing 4 September. This covers the Central City, natural and built heritage, coastal and natural hazards, a special purpose flat land recovery area for the red zone, and remaining parts of the ...

Environment Canterbury transition plan announced
8 Jul 15

The Government has today announced that Environment Canterbury (ECan) will move to a mixed governance council of seven elected councillors and up to six appointed in 2016 as a transition to a fully elected council in 2019. Elected representatives were replaced in March 2010 by ...

Irrigation Schemes – Co-operative vs Private Equity Models
18 Jun 15

With the possibility of one or two exceptions, all irrigation companies are run on co-operative principles whereby farmers pool resources to build and maintain their scheme to make the cost of irrigation more affordable. By sharing resources, farmers lower the average costs of capital. Sharing ...

Christchurch Replacement District Plan – Phase 2 open for submissions
4 May 15

Phase 2 of the Replacement District Plan has been notified, with submissions due 15 June.  Phase 2 covers certain residential areas of the city (including new neighbourhoods and character areas), open space and rural areas (including quarrying), hazardous substances and contaminated land management, as well ...

From Red Tape to Green Gold – the RMA Reform Debate Continues
27 Mar 15

On 23 March, 2015, the New Zealand Initiative, an independent business think-tank, published a report titled 'From Red tape to Green Gold'. The report is the second in a two-part series on the country’s mineral resources and the regulatory barriers which prevent or slow access ...

Waimea Community Dam approved
2 Mar 15

Independent Commissioners have granted consents to the Waimea Community Dam in Tasman District. The project involves the construction of a concrete faced rockfill dam that will enable water to be stored in a reservoir with a capacity of 40 million cubic metres. Water will then ...

Reform of resource consent application processes
4 Feb 15

As of 3 March 2015, Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 reforms take effect to honour government promises to speed up council decisions on "medium sized" projects. The reforms clarify and add to requirements for information to be included within a resource consent application and the ...

Overhauling the RMA
22 Jan 15

On 21 January 2015 Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith outlined the Government's plans to 'substantially overhaul' the Resource Management Act (RMA). The changes are certainly more than mere 'tinkering' but they do not remove any current fundamentals from the RMA. Opinion will be divided on ...

High Court Allows Appeals on the Tukituki Decision
18 Dec 14

The High Court has decided that the Board of Inquiry made material errors in its decision on Plan Changes to the Hawke's Bay Regional Plan for the Tukituki Catchment and associated resource consents for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme[1]. These proposals seek to address water ...

Lapsed consents and tax implications
3 Dec 14

The global financial crisis slowed the implementation of many consented developments around the Queenstown Lakes district. Over that period of inactivity many resource consents would have lapsed. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) are now undertaking an investigation and have obtained information regarding lapsed consents from ...

The Central Otago District Council’s District Plan Review Discussion Document
24 Oct 14

The Central Otago District Council's District Plan has been operative since 2008 and is currently under full review. The Council has identified potential changes to its District Plan that will be addressed in the review. Those changes have been notified in a Discussion Document and ...

Sustainable Business Council: Pre-Election Briefing – Business Lifting the Ceiling, Government Raising the Floor
12 Aug 14

The Sustainable Business Council ("SBC") has just released its pre-election briefing which aims to share its members' views on the concept of sustainability, and explain how business can work with and inform the government after the election.  SBC's pre-election briefing has identified areas where business ...

Accelerated Process for Christchurch Replacement District Plan
11 Jul 14

Decisions on matters of priority to be made on the Christchurch Replacement District Plans by 28 February 2015. Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Environment Minister Amy Adams announced the Government agreed to the request by the Christchurch City Council for an accelerated district ...

NPS Freshwater Management Changes Announced
3 Jul 14

On 3 July the Minister for the Environment Hon Amy Adams and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced the changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS), involving the establishment of a National Objectives Framework (NOF) relating to water quality. The changes ...

Ruataniwha Scheme – Final Decision Issued
27 Jun 14

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has released its final decision on the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.  This comes a day after the Hawke's Bay Regional Council voted to back the scheme but with funding conditional on levels of farmer up-take, workable consent ...

Otago Regional Council Water Quality Stakeholders Forum
25 Jun 14

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is holding a Water Quality Stakeholders Forum on Friday 27 June from 9:45 am – 4:00 pm, at the Scenic Southern Cross Hotel, Dunedin. The purpose of the forum is to discuss what the new Otago Water Plan rules, that ...

Monorail declined but door open for alternative?
30 May 14

When declining Riverstone Holdings' proposed monorail from Kiwi Burn to Te Anau Downs Minister of Conservation Nick Smith stated that "given the highly valued and spectacular landscapes" of the World Heritage Area through which the Monorail would travel, he was required to "err on the ...

Complaint by Greenpeace and Forest & Bird Against Exclusive Economic Zone Regulations Dismissed
29 May 14

The Regulations Review Committee has dismissed a complaint made by Greenpeace and Forest and Bird (the complainants) about the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects - Permitted Activities) Regulations 2013 ("the Regulations"). The opportunity to explore and develop the natural resources of the ...

Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms Under the Resource Management Act 1991
23 May 14

Introduction Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are controlled under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). However, a number of local authorities are currently considering inclusion of provisions within policy statements and plans under the Resource Management Act to regulate activities involving genetically modified ...

Inadequate Dairy Effluent Management System May Result in De-stocking or Cancellation of Resource Consent
20 May 14

Dairy farmers should note a recent enforcement decision of the Environment Court in response to inadequate effluent management . The Court has issued an enforcement order which prohibits re-stocking of a farm for the 2014-15 milking season until an approved effluent management system with capacity ...

Have the Goal Posts Shifted? Implications of the Supreme Court King Salmon Decision
13 May 14

Introduction The purpose of the RMA is to achieve "sustainable management". In general terms the Courts have determined whether this purpose is met by taking an overall judgment approach to the economic benefits and environmental effects of a plan or consent proposal. New Zealand's highest ...

Otago’s Future – Review of the Regional Policy Statement
9 May 14

The Otago Regional Council (the ORC) is inviting the public to get involved in how Otago's resources are managed in the future. The ORC has begun a review of its Regional Policy Statement (the RPS) and has published an 'issues and options' document for consultation, ...

Feedback Sought on Investment Threshold for Streamlined Resource Consenting
8 May 14

The Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA) allows notified applications for resource consents and notices of requirement to be directly referred to the Environment Court, bypassing the first instance hearing of the consent authority. The consent authority must agree to the direct referral process, and ...

International Court of Justice releases important decision on whaling
4 Apr 14

On 31 March, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague issued its decision that Japan's taking of whales in the Antarctic Southern Ocean is not for the purposes of scientific research and it must stop all whaling with immediate effect. While the decision ...

Environmental Reporting Bill
13 Mar 14

New Zealand will have legally mandated environmental reporting, if the Environmental Reporting Bill (introduced 20 February 2014; first reading 5 March 2014) becomes law. The Bill's purpose is to create a national-level environmental reporting system that will ensure environmental reporting occurs on a regular basis ...

Court Wary about Reference to Genetically Modified Organisms in Regional Policy Statement
24 Feb 14

Genetically modified organisms are controlled under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). However, a number of councils are currently considering inclusion of provisions within policy statements and plans under the Resource Management Act to regulate activities involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The ...

Environmental Reporting Bill
24 Feb 14

New Zealand will have legally mandated environmental reporting, if the Environmental Reporting Bill (tabled on 20 February 2014) becomes law. The Bill's purpose is to create a national-level environmental reporting system that will ensure environmental reporting occurs on a regular basis and that it can ...

Land Use Recovery Plan Released
9 Dec 13

The Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) has been approved by the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and takes effect on 6 December 2013. It is a significant document for anyone wishing to develop in the Greater Christchurch area and sets the scene for future communities. ...

New Local Government Act Amendment Proposed (updated)
9 Dec 13

On Monday the 4th November Hon Chris Tremain introduced the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 3) ("Amendment Bill"). This Amendment Bill does not have the fundamental changes that the last round of reform had. Instead changes relate to: the provisions around development contributions; ...

Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan – Commissioners’ Recommendations Available
3 Dec 13

The Report and Recommendations of the Hearing Commissioners on the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (CLWRP) are now on-line. The Recommendations will be considered by the Environment Canterbury Commissioners on 5 December, with notification of a decision likely to occur on Friday 18 ...

Land Use Recovery Plan Update
22 Nov 13

The Christchurch City Council did not endorse the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) on 21 November 2013. At the Mayor's request, a further meeting is planned today, 22 November, with the Minister for Earthquake Recovery. The Government has previously signalled that it hoped to make ...

Governor-General Amends Kawarau River Water Conservation Order
21 Nov 13

The Governor-General made the Order in Council amending the Kawarau River Water Conservation Order on 11 November 2013. The Order which will amend the WCO will commence on 13 December 2013 and can be found here. The Order gives effect to the Minister for the ...

Innovative Sentencing Under the Resource Management Act
21 Nov 13

In September 2013 we reported on Mr Conway, the first person to be sentenced to jail twice for offending under the Resource Management Act 1991. Since then Mr Conway's latest attempt to avoid jail has failed – he was denied leave to appeal the Court ...

Adventure Activity Audit Countdown
12 Nov 13

Adventure activity providers need to be vigilant and respond to the requirements of the Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011, which came into force two years ago. Adventure activity operators now only have less than 12 months to undergo and pass a ...

Minister for the Environment Recommends Prohibition on Damming of the Nevis River
1 Nov 13

The Minister for the Environment Amy Adams has accepted the recommendations of the Majority of the Environment Court on an application to amend the Water Conservation (Kawarau) Order 1997 (WCO) in respect of the Nevis River. The recommendations include a prohibition on damming in order ...

The Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Act 2013 Comes into Force
31 Oct 13

In August we reported on progress of the Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Bill through parliament. The Bill has now been passed into law. The Conservation (Natural Heritage Protection) Act 2013 came into force on 25 October. It amends six of the main Acts administered by ...

Biodiversity Offsets – The Latest on the Law
31 Oct 13

Our August 2010 Resource Management Journal article commented on developments in the area of biodiversity offsets and environmental compensation. The 2010 update referred to the Environment Court decisions in Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society Inc v Gisborne District Council and Lower Waitaki River Management ...

For more information contact:

Richard Greenaway

richard.greenaway@al.nz