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Resource Management Act Reform

Resource Management Act Reform

Updated 23 September 2021 4:40pm

The Resource Management Act  1991 (RMA) is the primary piece of legislation that we operate under to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.  The Government plans to repeal the RMA and replace it with three new pieces of legislation.

The RMA has had some major criticisms.  Such as, arguably it has become a barrier to progress by adding costs and delays to the consenting process. It has been identified by many as a contributor to the country’s housing crisis.  At the same time, it has been said that the environmental outcomes of the RMA have not met expectations.

The RMA has grown, with changes in national direction, through National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards.  The reform is intended to make it easier for people and organisations to get consents, and easier for regional councils to protect our environment.  But we know that balancing those two things, which often are in opposition, is no easy task. 

The proposed Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) will be the main replacement for the RMA. An exposure draft of the NBA has been released and referred by Parliament to a select committee.  The Strategic Planning Act (SPA) and a new Climate Adaptation Act (CAA) will complete the resource management system.  The SPA and CAA are due to be released by the end of 2021 alongside the final draft NBA.  Early in 2022 complete Bills for the NBA and SPA will be introduced to Parliament.  At this point, there will be a second opportunity for public feedback before the Bills are due to be passed into law by December 2022. 

The stakes are high, we’re watching this closely and providing feedback to the Government where appropriate. 

Find out more about the system reform.