Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role

Buzz from the Beehive

It was rather like listening to ministers crowing about the goodies being distributed to programmes within their portfolios before, on and after Budget Day.

It was the joyous response from a gaggle of cheerleading ministers to the unveiling of legislation to replace the wretched Resource Management Act.

Environment Minister David Parker made the key announcement and summed up its features under these bullet points:

  • The system is broken, consent fees have almost doubled, and consenting time frames increased by 50%
  • New standardised conditions will see fewer “bespoke” consents and speed up the process
  • Time to consent will shorten, and fast track process retained
  • On a conservative estimate costs will fall 19% a year ($149m) or $10b over 30 years
  • Environmental protection increases, based on new targets and limits.
  • The National Planning Framework will provide consistency and certainty
  • 100 RMA plans will reduce to 15

Eventually Parker got around to saying the Government was introducing the Natural and Built Environment and the Spatial Planning Bills that will replace the Resource Management Act.

This would address a raft of long-standing problems with the current system, while saving the economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The new resource management system will deliver economic and environmental benefits. For every $1 spent the new system is expected to deliver $2.58 to $4.90 in benefits.

“On a conservative estimate costs to users will fall by 19 per cent a year, or $149m, equal to more than $10 billion in cost savings over 30 years.

“More than 100 RMA plans will reduce to just 15 regional-level plans across the country. The time taken to prepare them will reduce from 10 years under the current system to a maximum of four years.

And so on.

 Parker triumphantly released his press statement under the heading –

Cheaper, faster, better resource management law 

Grant Robertson, as Minister of Finance and of Infrastructure, enthusiastically chimed in with his own statement to assure us – 

Better infrastructure to be built faster

Making the Resource Management process quicker, cheaper and better will help boost New Zealand’s economic growth, he said.

From Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor came an assurance for farmers –

New resource management system provides clearer direction for farmers

He said the  new resource management system aims to reduce a reliance on consenting and provide clearer direction for farmers and the agricultural sector.

And let’s  not leave Housing Minister Megan Woods out of our round-up. Her statement was headed –

RMA reforms aim to make housing and urban system simpler, faster, cheaper

Woods said New Zealand’s housing and urban system is set to benefit from the overhaul of the Resource Management system, making the ability to build new housing simpler, faster and cheaper.


The cheerleading would not be complete without a reference to the magic that will flow from ensuring the Treaty of Waitangi is appropriately embedded in the new legislation.

Associate Environment Minister Kiri Allan duly obliged with a statement headed –

Resource Management reform ensures Crown fulfils Treaty obligations

Kiri Alan said the Resource Management reform will uphold Treaty settlements, commitments and arrangements and ensure Māori maintain established decision-making and participation at both a regional and national level, which has been the case to date as a result of successive governments’ Treaty Settlement arrangements.

But when she says the reform ensures the Crown fulfils its Treaty obligations, bear in mind the Ardern government has a politically contentious idea of how those obligations should be translated into legislation.

Here’s hoping our good mate Thomas Cranmer is looking into this and other aspects of the reforms.

Other ministers with other duties meanwhile have advised us they are –

Packing their bags for a jaunt to Britain for a bilateral defence meeting

Minister of Defence Peeni Henare departs for the United Kingdom today to meet with Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace to discuss the UK and New Zealand’s shared security interests and ongoing defence co-operation.    

Greening the public debt (to the tune of $3bn)…

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the Government has welcomed New Zealand Debt Management’s issuance of NZ$3 billion of the New Zealand Sovereign Green Bonds that will mature in 2034.

… and spending up large in the name of climate change

Climate Change Minister James Shaw (without Grant Robertson as co-author of the statement this time) said New Zealand has announced a five-fold increase in its contribution to global efforts to support climate change adaptation.

The announcement of a new $15 million commitment to the Adaptation Fund was made while Shaw was at COP27 in Egypt.

At least half of this Government’s NZ$1.3 billion climate finance package will be targeted at projects that support climate resilience, especially in the Pacific.

The contribution to the Adaptation Fund is the second funding announcement made around COP27. It follows a commitment of $20 million of dedicated finance for loss and damage.

Both are allocations from the $1.3 billion climate finance commitment for 2022–2025.

The Adaptation Fund is the only multilateral climate fund dedicated to financing adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries. It was set up in 2007 to fund climate adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that were parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has allocated more than US$923 million for climate change adaptation and resilience projects and programmes. This includes more than 130 projects in the most vulnerable communities of developing countries, with 33 million beneficiaries.

Updating us on the strength of the tourism rebound

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Michael Wood said towns and cities up and down the country should be prepping for a busy summer season, as the latest official numbers highlight the continued growth in international visitors.

Rejoicing in a bonding scheme attracting 32 new vets to rural New Zealand

Acting Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Meka Whaitiri announced 32 graduate vets will begin their careers in rural New Zealand, with a financial boost from the Government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians

2 thoughts on “Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role

  1. It’s actually a continuation of the centralisation under Labour. It is not a brave new world. Every planning and writing committee will have central govt reps and with only 15 of them it is easier to make sure they are all in the government’s preferred image. Parker on Red Radio today saying for example there will be a schedule of sediment standards across the country …… so much for local people knowing local conditions. How does one compare gimlet gravels with high country braided rivers. We know they are telling fibs, they know they are telling fibs, they know we know they tell fibs; and so it goes on.

    On another tack – the mooted savings will be in less consenting applications …… that is a local government activity and large source of cost recovery dollars. Assume then there will be a lot of jobs not required to manage these often self-serving activities. If the savings are real – that is a good thing.


  2. Smoke and mirrors, sort of back to the future of central planning and control with an indiginous twist hidden in the small print.
    Doutful that any costs savings will accrue to NZers, indeed given the rate of inflation costs could well increase for development, as they have for labour and materials (if either are available).
    More unsupported assertions and spin.


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