Govt releases draft bill for replacing the Resource Management Act – and for giving The Treaty a stronger role

The Government has invited ethnically eligible organisations (Polynesian in this case) to apply for funding from one of its many troughs (a health fund modestly supplied with a $450,000 swill).

It has also welcomed “a world first natural disaster insurance model” which comes into effect tomorrow.  This is a collaboration embracing eight private insurers, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), providing New Zealanders with a single point of contact for natural disaster insurance claims.

But the Beehive release most likely to generate heated discussion is the exposure draft of a law intended to replace the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The draft outlining key aspects of the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) will be presented to Parliament, then be referred to a select committee inquiry. Continue reading “Govt releases draft bill for replacing the Resource Management Act – and for giving The Treaty a stronger role”

Housing crisis is the driver as govt prepares three new laws to replace the vexing RMA

LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

We had been bracing for Environment Minister David Parker’s news this morning, which was to confirm that the Government intends to replace the Resource Management Act based on a comprehensive review of the country’s resource management system carried out last year.

Before the general election, in early October last year, Jacinda Ardern had posted a Labour Party policy announcement that the party would repeal and replace the Resource Management Act.

“Labour is committed to delivering better outcomes for our natural and urban environments, and so will repeal and replace the Resource Management Act.

“Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said Labour’s changes will remove complexity and inconsistency, improve environmental outcomes, and reduce costs for all involved.

“Overly restrictive planning rules are one of the causes of high house prices. Labour will continue to improve the availability of land for housing through better integrated planning and investment in urban development, infrastructure and transport, and set standards for quality urban design.”

Last month, under mounting pressure to deal with the housing crisis, Ardern mapped out a timeline for when the public can expect new announcements from the government on housing.

She mentioned the commitment that “high-level announcements” would be made about the Resource Management Act with draft legislation outlining major reform released in May.

Parker’s announcement today gave us some idea of what is intended. Continue reading “Housing crisis is the driver as govt prepares three new laws to replace the vexing RMA”

NZ First might seem washed up but Kaikohe’s water storage project (helped by the PGF) wins fast-flow consent

Hurrah – someone in the Beehive is back in the business of braying about the approval of the spending of public money.

Fair to say, it seems the Government did not actually make the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of several infrastructure projects

 … earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

But Environment Minister David Parker said the government did welcome the decision.

He made something of a meal of it, actually, banging on about a veritable trifecta of virtues.  The project will –

  • Boost the economic recovery from Covid-19;
  • Protect environmental standards; and
  • Satisfy Treaty of Waitangi principles.

If the project did not pass muster in the Treaty department, would the plug have been pulled?    Continue reading “NZ First might seem washed up but Kaikohe’s water storage project (helped by the PGF) wins fast-flow consent”

Beehive breaks its silence with news about old tyres

Latest from the Beehive

What have the pollies been up to over the past few days?

Good question.  

Our morning check with the Beehive website drew a blank.  Nothing had been posted since  August 21.

This website boasts being the best place to find Government initiatives, policies and Ministerial information.

This afternoon we struck gold – a smidgen, at least. 

Continue reading “Beehive breaks its silence with news about old tyres”

At long last, the vexing RMA is bound for the dustbin – but we are not being rushed to bring in replacement legislation

Latest from the Beehive

Before Point of Order had wrapped up the previous bulletin, the busy bees in the Beehive were releasing the most comprehensive review of New Zealand’s resource management system since the Resource Management Act (RMA) was enacted in 1991.

At much the same time, the Government was signalling its intention to introduce legislation to allow it to recover some of the costs for managed isolation and quarantine.

This isolation measure is something of a rarity in the run-up to the election – it will result in the Government collecting money rather than borrowing to give it away in billions.

The RMA review is reported in New Directions for Resource Management in New Zealand,  commissioned by Environment Minister David Parker and prepared by an independent review panel led by retired Court of Appeal Judge Tony Randerson QC.

Among its recommendations is the replacement of the existing RMA by two separate pieces of legislation, a Natural and Built Environments Act and a Strategic Planning Act. Continue reading “At long last, the vexing RMA is bound for the dustbin – but we are not being rushed to bring in replacement legislation”

Five Jones announcements bring good news (and millions of dollars) to the provinces – but other Ministers are spending, too

Latest from the Beehive –

Nine press releases (when we checked this morning) had flowed from the Beehive since we last reported.  Eight of them brayed about the money Ministers have been spending and  (as they prefer to put it) investing.

The sole exception came from Environment Minister David Parker, who provided a progress report on the passage of “the law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects”.

But without putting a dollar sign on it, Parker did have more good news for Queenstown (where the government has been pouring millions of dollars).

His statement advised that the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Bill, crafted to support and accelerate the government’s investment in infrastructure, environment and development projects while maintaining environmental and Treaty safeguards, has passed its second and third readings in the House.

He mentioned that Part 2 of the Resource Management Act, including the recognition of matters of national importance, will continue to apply and reference to it is being strengthened.

The Queenstown Arterials Project has been added to the 11 named projects originally listed in the Bill. Continue reading “Five Jones announcements bring good news (and millions of dollars) to the provinces – but other Ministers are spending, too”

Why climate change zealots should join the champions of NZ oil and gas exploration

As   from  tomorrow  NZ  will be staring  goggle-eyed at  a  budget  deficit,   the size of which it has   never seen  before.

That deficit  will  signal  the depth of the  economic  pain  being  inflicted  on the country by the Covid-19  pandemic.

The  burden  will  have to be   carried   not only  by this generation  but the next  and probably the  one  after that.

So would  the government  welcome   anything  that  might  ease  the   burden?    An  oil or  gas  discovery, perhaps? Continue reading “Why climate change zealots should join the champions of NZ oil and gas exploration”

A fast-track environmental test to short-circuit the RMA is welcome but fast-track projects should pass a business test, too

The government  is to  short-circuit  the   unwieldy  and  time-wasting  Resource Management Act  to fast-track   projects  it likes to call  “shovel-ready”  as  a  major  element  of its plan to get the economy up and running  again.

Environment Minister  David Parker  says:

We went hard and early to beat the virus and now we’re doing the same to get the economy moving too. The success of our health response gives us a head start on the world to get our economy moving again and this fast tracking process will allow our economic recovery to accelerate”

In effect  the government  is   recognising  the RMA  legislation is  obsolescent, a  block to   economic  progress.  As  ACT’s  David Seymour pointed out, the 900-page RMA is the single biggest impediment to progress, and to housing affordability in particular.

In  accepting that the consenting and approval processes previously  used don’t provide the speed and certainty  needed now in response to the economic fallout from COVID-19,  Parker  says environmental safeguards remain.  The resource consent applications for these projects will be processed by an Expert Consenting Panel.

But this is  the  telling  line in  Parker’s  announcement: Continue reading “A fast-track environmental test to short-circuit the RMA is welcome but fast-track projects should pass a business test, too”

Parker’s readiness to relax the RMA rules should be extended to freshwater constraints on farmers

Environment  Minister   David  Parker  has directed  officials to find ways  to fast-track consents  for infrastructure and  development  projects. He says   his  goal  is to  help create a pipeline of projects  so that some can  start immediately once  Covid-19 restrictions  are  lifted “so people can get back into work as fast as possible”.

Parker sees the Covid-19 pandemic as a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact on almost every part of  the economy for some time.

He recognises many New Zealanders have lost their jobs, or may do so in coming months, and many businesses are doing it hard.

“These are extraordinary times that need extraordinary solutions. We need to support NZers through this crisis, and position our economy for recovery”.

 His  aim  is  to   short-circuit  the standard  Resource Management Act  consenting  processes  and  he wants   Cabinet to  put its stamp of approval on how to do that  before  the  end of the  lockdown period. Continue reading “Parker’s readiness to relax the RMA rules should be extended to freshwater constraints on farmers”