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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: New Zealand Planning Institute

The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) welcomes the outcomes of the Government’s review of the Resource Management Act (RMA), which it says provides a sound basis for moving forward.

NZPI chair Karyn Sinclair says reform of the RMA was long overdue and praised the Review Panel’s extensive engagement and comprehensive review.

“While we haven’t yet had the opportunity to read the report in full, we are encouraged by what we have learned so far,” Karyn says.

“It looks as though the review will provide a sound basis for moving forward – restructuring the important function of land use and environmental management to an outcomes-based approach, and ensuring appropriate prioritisation of the needs of communities, the natural environment and the economic stability of New Zealand are clear,” Karyn says.

“We note that there is an emerging consensus across the political spectrum that the RMA has done its time and is due for a comprehensive replacement rather than ongoing tinkering. Therefore, we expect substantive change to the planning legislation regardless of the election outcome.

“NZPI members welcome any moves to establish more efficient systems that deliver clear leadership from central government, improvements to our natural environment, and that deliver on community and economic aspirations.”

Karyn says NZPI is pleased to note the Review Panel’s expectation that its recommendations will lead to greater central government guidance and better integration with other legislation to help remove some of the current impediments to efficiency and alignment of policy.

“Any reform of the resource management system will succeed or fail on the level of central government guidance and support for successful and efficient implementation.  Success will be measured at the grass roots level by clear understanding of the strategic direction for any community and more efficient decision making, which will ensure that any engagement with the process is affordable and fast,” Karyn says.

The review’s proposal for a new, separate law addressing issues with climate change adaptation and managed retreat from areas threatened with inundation is also welcomed by the NZPI.  

“National leadership on managed retreat is essential and should not be left to local government to try and resolve,” Karyn Sinclair says.

“NZPI strongly supports streamlining and reduced costs for small to medium sized projects.  Combined with improvements in spatial planning and better integration of infrastructure provision to align with urban growth this will lead to faster, cheaper outcomes for small projects, and more effective management of big projects.  This will be a refreshing change from current RMA practice – which seems to be slow and expensive for small things and not that effective at resolving big issues either.” Karyn says.

“We look forward to legislative changes in the wake of this review. We also hope that when new legislation is introduced it will be given the opportunity to settle in, while people get used to working with it, so it can avoid becoming politicised in future,” Karyn says.

·         Established in 1949, NZPI has more than 2000 members involved in strategic planning initiatives and implementation of urban and rural plans.

·         NZPI members work in cities, towns, district councils and rural areas and specialise in a variety of different disciplines – for example transport, urban design or conservation.