Resource management reforms falling short
The reforms proposed by the Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill amount to a far-reaching reorganisation of environmental management in New Zealand.
The Commissioner’s submission concentrates on the major structural elements of the proposed reform together with some attention to key clauses. One of the biggest problems is the locus of accountability proposed for various elements of the environmental management system and the sequence in which regulatory provisions are developed.
Where land use change and infrastructural development takes place should still be subject to the health and assimilative capacity of the natural environment. The way we live in and use our environment’s resources should run with the grain of the landscape and the environmental services that the natural environment provides, not against it.
Even if the bills are substantively amended, he questions whether they can deliver an enduring framework. Significant reform could equally be achieved through comprehensive amendment of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Either way, much work remains to be done. The time needs to be taken to do that work.
Read the Commissioner's submission on the two bills here.