Environment and Housing reports underline need for planning and environmental law reform
22 October 2015
Two separate reports released yesterday provide timely and compelling evidence that the Resource Management Act is failing in its fundamental purpose to promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources, says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
The Environment Aotearoa 2015 report finds that despite 24 years since enactment of the RMA key environmental indicators relating to freshwater quality, climate change and biodiversity are below standards that most New Zealanders would expect.
The Productivity Commission, meanwhile, who released their much anticipated final report into land supply for housing, found that RMA planning and investment decision making is an impediment to residential land development and supporting infrastructure.
If the environmental protection provisions of the RMA are not providing improved environmental outcomes and also not adequately providing for housing and infrastructure, what is the Act achieving?
The environmental protection and planning components of the RMA should be separated to provide for an effective environmental protection Act and a national planning and governance framework which supports housing, infrastructure, growth and development consistent with national environmental standards.
It is a matter of national urgency that the RMA together with the other major planning statutes the Local Government and Land Transport Management Acts undergo a first principles review to investigate whether we have an effective planning and environmental protection system in place.
The evidence provided to date suggests we do not, Selwood says.
NZCID has released a report Integrated Governance, Planning and Delivery which calls for a review of the New Zealand system of planning and decision making, which can be accessed here.