RM reform update

17 Apr 23

The Government is continuing to progress its resource management system reforms following the introduction of the Natural and Built Environment Bill (NBE Bill) and the Spatial Planning Bill (SP Bill) to Parliament in November 2022.

The bills are currently before Parliament and are being considered by the Environment Committee through the select committee process. Submissions closed on 5 February 2023, with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) indicating it intends for them to be passed in mid-2023 ahead of the General Election in October.

MfE is now planning, and seeking feedback, from Māori and local government and sector stakeholders on the next stages of the reform in anticipation of the bills being passed. These include the National Planning Framework (NPF), the Climate Change Adaptation Bill (CCA Bill), emissions work and plans for regional implementation.

MfE has published an update on the next stages to encourage and facilitate discussions. More information is provided below under ‘Have your say’.

National Planning Framework

The NPF will provide national direction for regional and local decision making in relation to matters of national significance.

The first version of the NPF will transition the policy intent of existing Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) national direction and include new national direction for infrastructure and natural hazards. It will also include requirements and policy for an initial set of limits and targets for six mandatory matters (air, indigenous biodiversity, coastal water, estuaries, fresh water and soil).

Climate Change Adaptation Bill

The CCA Bill is the third bill intended to replace the RMA and is expected to be introduced to Parliament this year. It will seek to address complex issues associated with managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation, including enabling the planned relocation of people and buildings from at-risk areas.

Emissions work

The emissions reduction plan sets the direction for climate action for the next 15 years.  It includes an action to adjust the Emissions Trading Scheme to drive a balance of gross and net emissions removals. MfE is seeking feedback from Treaty partners about what land-use emissions pricing should support and how as part of the wider reforms.

Regional implementation

The SP Bill will require each region to have a regional spatial strategy, which will set regional direction for at least the next 30 years, and must be consistent with the NPF. MfE is anticipating a staged approach to regional implementation, whereby some regions will begin developing their long-term regional spatial strategies ahead of others. At this stage, it is not known which regions these will be.

Have your say

MfE are currently undertaking regional and online hui to provide an opportunity for Māori to provide feedback on the NPF, climate adaptation and emissions work ahead of workshops with Manawhenua in May and June 2023. Appendix 1 to the update contains a list of questions for discussion to facilitate these hui.

The hui and workshops are targeted towards Māori and local government and sector stakeholders, however, it appears that anyone can provide feedback via email to RM.reform@mfe.govt.nz. MfE has advised it will also be sharing an ‘interactive engagement platform’ link as another channel for feedback.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the resource management system reforms, please contact our specialist Environment, Planning and Natural Resources team.

PDF version: here.