19 February, 2009
Bill to make RMA processes simpler, cheaper, quicker
The Government today introduced a Bill to the House that will cut through suffocating red tape for Kiwi homeowners, businesses and farmers while safeguarding the environment.
Environment Minister Nick Smith says the Resource Management (Simplifying & Streamlining) Amendment Bill is long overdue and is the biggest overhaul of the RMA since its introduction in 1991.
"These reforms address the costs, delays and uncertainties of the current Act. They will remove slow and overly bureaucratic processes that do little for growth or the environment. At a time of economic difficulty these reforms take away barriers that stand in the way of helping our country's future prosperity.
Key elements of the reform package are:
- Removing frivolous, vexatious and anti-competitive objections
- Streamlining processes for projects of national significance
- Creating an Environmental Protection Authority
- Improving plan development and plan change processes
- Improving resource consent processes
- Streamlining decision making
- Improving workability and compliance
- Improving national instruments
"I openly acknowledge that success of the reforms depends on getting the details right. That is why I want to signal to the public and the Local Government and Environment Committee that I am very open to improvements to the RMA as it goes through the Select Committee process.
"But just as this Bill is about timely decision making, with the recession and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment waiting, these reforms need to be made expeditiously.
"That is why we aim to have these reforms in place by 1 July 2009."
Note: below is a link to the Ministry for the Environment website containing a summary of the proposed amendments, Cabinet papers and minutes, the Report of the Technical Advisory Group and the Regulatory Impact Statement.