fully support the Resource Management Review Panel’s recommendation to replace
the RMA with two new Acts, which reflects growing consensus of the way forward
but, if changes are not also made to local government responsibilities and
rewards, then it is difficult to see how plans will be implemented or who will
be accountable,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.
Tony Randerson-led Review Panel has recommended replacing the Resource
Management Act 1991 (RMA) with two new pieces of legislation, a Natural and
Built Environments Act and a Strategic Planning Act.
Natural and Built Environments Act would strengthen the current system by not
only seeking to protect the environment, but improve it.
Strategic Planning Act would give statutory weight to strategic spatial plans
and, critically, force reconciliation and alignment across central and local
government to ensure implementation.
we’ll see something closer to 14 integrated resource management and strategic
plans instead of the 100 plus we currently have.
is really positive about this proposal is that it will move New Zealand away
from the negative and short-sighted ‘effects-based’ planning approach which has
dominated the last 30 years and which has seen severe deterioration in housing
affordability, infrastructure and environmental performance.
again focus on outcomes and the value created from planning and investment, not
just the costs.
a question remains as to how strategic spatial plans will be implemented.
plans to be implemented successfully, the organisations overseeing those plans
must want them to succeed. The only way to do that is to ensure local councils
and other institutions receive a portion of the value they create.
is the revenue stream available to councils which will enable them to invest in
long term growth infrastructure ahead of the businesses and homes which will
eventually pay rates? What reward will councils receive from investment
decisions which lead to stronger economies, communities and environments?
considered in parallel with the COVID response and water reform programme, the
Panel’s recommendations provide the opportunity for central government to
formalise its investment relationship with local government.
central and local government can agree the resourcing central government will
commit to spatial plans and councils can agree to support those plans with
local services, then we will have an accountable framework for funding and
problem is that signing 78 separate agreements with each local authority for 14
or so regional strategic spatial plans is not going to be efficient nor
for development, funding and delivery of strategic spatial plans needs to be
vested in 14 or so strengthened regional authorities to leverage scale,
capability and ensure accountability.
democratic decision making and identity needs to be the focus of truly local
councils who can effectively represent their individual communities of
New Zealand has set out a pathway to achieving strengthened local
representation, decision making and delivery in its Building Regions report,
next Government should provide financial incentives for local councils to
collaborate, with a view to concentrating major planning and investment
decisions at a regional level where scale and capability can be leveraged and
focusing local councils on local needs, democratic decision making and
identity,” said Blair.
copy of the Resource Management Review Panel’s report can be found here.
Review Panel process was catalysed by the Resource Reform New Zealand group,
consisting of Property Council New Zealand, Environmental Defence Society,
Employers and Manufacturers, Business New Zealand and Infrastructure New
For further information and
comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436