Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill

27 Aug 12

The Resource Management (Restricted Duration of Certain Discharge and Coastal Permits) Amendment Bill (“the Amendment Bill”), a Members’ Bill introduced by Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, passed its first reading on 29 August 2012 with support from all parties, except ACT and National.

The purpose of the Amendment Bill is to amend section 107 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (“the Act”), relating to granting discharge permits and coastal permits.

Section 107(2)(a) of the Act allows for discharges to water where “exceptional circumstances” justify it. Under the current law “exception circumstances” has not been defined or limited which can allow discharge consents to be issued for a period of up to 35 years under s123 of the Act. The Amendment Bill seeks to limit the period for which consent can be issued in “exceptional circumstances” to a maximum of 5 years. The Amendment Bill proposes to add a new section that will read:

(“2A) Despite section 123, the maximum period for which a discharge permit or a coastal permit may be issued pursuant to subsection (2)(a) is 5 years from the date of commencement of the consent under section 116.”

After passing its first reading the Amendment Bill will now be referred to the Select Committee. The Select Committee will then have six months to report on the Amendment Bill.

As a Members’ Bill, the Amendment Bill will be on a slower track than if it had been introduced by the Government. It will only be considered on every second Wednesday that Parliament is sitting and, once it comes back from the Select Committee, it may take some time to progress.

The Select Committee has not set a date for the submission process to begin but will do so in due course.

If you would like more information on the Amendment Bill or if you have an interest in this matter please do not hesitate to contact Maree Baker-Galloway.