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18 Apr

RMA Amendment Act 2017

RMA Amendment Act 2017

Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017

Overview of the changes

The Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) represents the Government’s second phase of reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA). It contains close to 40 amendments and makes significant changes to five different Acts, consequently amending several others. This is the most comprehensive package of reforms to the RMA since its inception 26 years ago.

Together these changes aim to deliver substantive improvements to the resource management system to support more effective environmental management and drive capacity for development and economic growth. In particular the amendments aim to provide stronger national direction, a more responsive planning process, a streamlined resource consent process and better alignment with other legislation.

The RLAA amends five different Acts: the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), Conservation Act 1986, Reserves Act 1977, Public Works Act 1981, and Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2013. Consequential changes have also been made to other Acts.


RLAA obtained Royal Assent on 18 April 2017. Some of the changes to the RMA take immediate effect. Other changes have transitional periods specified in the RLAA (eg, the majority of changes to the resource consent process come into force six months after enactment, on 18 October 2017).

08 Apr

Changes to RMA 2017

Changes to RMA 2017

Yesterday the Government announced that the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading. This means that the Bill has been subject to a final debate and vote by the House of Representatives. The Bill proposes significant changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), Reserves Act 1977, Public Works Act 1981 (PWA), Conservation Act 1987 and Exclusive Economic Zone (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.


On 1 June 2017, amendments to the Exclusive Economic Zone (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 take effect including a requirement to include a decommissioning plan to cover the decommissioning of offshore petroleum installations. Six months after the Bill receives Royal assent, changes to the Conservation Act 1987 and a number of changes to the RMA come into effect, including:

  • Changes to the notification requirements for resource consent applications
  • The introduction of a fast-track consent application process
  • Providing councils with a discretion to exempt some activities from requiring resource consent. 

Five years after Royal assent is given, the financial contributions provisions of the RMA will be removed.

20 Mar

More Houses in Peacocke Area

More Houses in Peacocke Area

Hamilton City Council has found a way to accommodate 160 more houses into the first stage of Peacocke’s development.

The first stage of developing Hamilton’s southernmost growth cell, Peacocke stage 1a, was initially able to accommodate 500 dwellings but can now be extended by 160. All 500 initial dwellings have received planning consent with 300 already built including one new rest home.


07 Mar

Updated Changes to RMA on the way

Updated Changes to RMA on the way

Environment Minister Nick Smith has won Maori Party support for an overhaul of the Resource Management Act with what he calls a "better framework" for iwi participation.

Parliament's local government and environment committee reported back on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill yesterday, which Dr Smith touted as "the most comprehensive package of reform" to the RMA since it was implemented 25 years ago, although the announcement was lost in the fanfare surrounding Prime Minister Bill English's proposed changes to New Zealand superannuation.

The second tranche of reforms to the RMA planning legislation has faced four extensions since being sent to select committee in December 2015, eventually shoring up support from the Maori Party with new iwi consultation provisions, dubbed Mana Whakahono ā Rohe.

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Quicker, faster and cheaper consents is the aim of the massive overhaul of the Act which Housing Minister Nick Smith is leading:

The 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill comprises 40 changes contained in 235 clauses and eight schedules. It makes changes to the Resource Management Act 1991, the Reserves Act 1977, the Public Works Act 1981, the Conservation Act 1987, the Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011, and the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

Parliament will start debating the changes next week but they still have a long way to go to become law.