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18 Oct

RMA Changes 18 Oct 2017

RMA Changes 18 Oct 2017

Changes are made to the notification provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) introduced by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA17) which come into effect on 18 October 2017.

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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.

Timing

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).

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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.

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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.

 

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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. 

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21 Feb

Proposed Urban Development Authorities

Proposed Urban Development Authorities

Urban development authorities at a glance:

 

Planning and resource consenting

Urban development authorities will prepare a development plan in consultation with stakeholders for the proposed project and will then consult the local community on this plan.

The Government proposes that, in appropriate cases, the development plan can override existing and proposed district or regional plans, or parts of them. This would not happen automatically, but only in circumstances where the Government believes that the public benefit of the project is sufficiently high to justify it. Examples of where a development plan might contain different requirements include where there is inefficient housing density or there are height restrictions within the project area. 

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02 Feb

Growth in Waikato

Growth in Waikato

Waikato is confirmed as the highest-growth district council in the North Island according to the latest figures from Statistics NZ, and housing affordability may be part of the reason.

 

Positioned in the ‘golden triangle’ between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, Waikato District Council is issuing more consents for new dwellings each year than any other North Island council apart from its closest city neighbours – Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

 

 

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22 Dec

Housing Accord - Hamilton City

Housing Accord - Hamilton City

Hamilton City Council and the Government have signed a Housing Accord today as a way to increase housing supply and improve housing affordability in Hamilton.

“We’re excited about this strong partnership between the Council and the Government. I’m pleased to be working so closely with them to achieve great outcomes for our city,” says Mayor King.

Hamilton has grown faster than predicted in the past two years. In the next five years Hamilton’s population is estimated to continue growing from 161,000 in 2016 to 177,000 in 2021.

By the end of 2016, it’s estimated the Council will approve 1271 building consents for new residential dwellings. The Accord outlines targets for the number of dwelling and section consents issued in Hamilton for the next three years; 1300 for 2017, 1400 for 2018 and 1500 for 2019.

The next stage in this process is for the Council to create a policy going into further practical details related to identifying key areas in the city known as Special Housing Areas.

The Accord will work in conjunction with other strategic planning documents including the National Policy

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03 Nov

National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016

National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016(NPS-UDC) has been released.

The NPS-UDC provides direction to decision makers under the Resource Management Act 1991on planning for urban environments. It takes effect on 1 December 2016.Local authorities with medium-growth urban areas are required to complete their housing and business development capacity assessment by 31 December 2018.

 

Local authorities with medium-growth urban areas and high-growth urban areas, as defined in the NPS-UDC, have more obligations than other local authorities and those with high-growth urban areas have more obligations than those with medium-growth urban areas.

 

The current high-growth urban areas are:

•  Auckland

•  Christchurch

•  Hamilton

•  Queenstown

•  Tauranga

 

The current medium-growth urban areas are:

•  Kapiti

•  Nelson

•  New Plymouth

•  Palmerston North

•  Wellington

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21 Oct

New Pool Fencing Law

New Pool Fencing Law

New pool fencing law passed

Parliament has today passed improved laws to better protect children from drowning in swimming pools while also making the requirements more practical and enforceable, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The law change in 1987 requiring swimming pools to be fenced reduced the accidental drowning of children from more than 100 per decade to about 20 per decade. The measures in the Building (Pools) Amendment Bill take effect on 1 January 2017 and are expected to save an additional six young children’s lives per decade.

“The most important safety improvement in this Bill is the compulsory nationwide requirement for all swimming pools to be inspected and certified every three years. This addresses the problem that most drownings today occur because gates no longer close, fences have not been maintained or other changes have occurred that enable children to get access. Half of inspected pools have been found to be non-compliant, exposing children to risk.

 

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16 Sep

Special Housing Areas

Special Housing Areas
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01 Jul

Carport Exemption

Carport Exemption

Building Consent Exemptions

A change to building consent exemptions means new carports, whether free-standing or attached, do not require a building consent from 30 June 2016.

The exemption applies to free-standing or attached carports that are:

•   on ground level

•   no greater than 20 square metres.

 

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13 May

Earthquake-prone Buildings Act 2016

Earthquake-prone Buildings Act 2016

Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016

The new system for managing earthquake-prone buildings is outlined in the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act. This new legislation addresses recommendations from the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission and the findings of a comprehensive review by the Government. It also reflects a number of public submissions on the proposed system.

New Zealand will be categorised into three areas of low, medium and high seismic risk. National timeframes for territorial authorities to identify earthquake-prone buildings and deadlines for building owners to remediate earthquake-prone buildings will be set relative to their location and level of seismic risk.

 

Public consultation on the final form of the new regulations and the EPB methodology will take place later this year.

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01 Mar

Food Act 2014

Food Act 2014

Food Act 2014

                           Food businesses are currently governed by the following legislation:

• Food Hygiene Regulations 1974 and Food Act 1981 – for existing food business until they transition to Food Act 2014.

Post 1 March 2016 all new food business (new build and change of ownership) will be required to comply with legislations listed below:

·       Food Act 2014

·       Food Regulations 2015

·       Food Notices 2015

·       Any Amended Council Food Safety Bylaw

·       Australia New Zealand Food Standard Code (Code)

Resource Consents

Your proposed food business location must comply with the district and regional Plans or resource consent will be required. If resource consent is required, this must be obtained before constructing and operating your business. If you believe your business will comply with the district and regional plans, you can seek confirmation of this from Council or apply for a certificate of compliance. For more information on district plans, regional plans, resource consents and certificates of compliance, you may contact Gulab.

 

Building Service

Your food premise must comply with the Building Act 2004. You may also need to obtain a building consent before you start any construction, renovation or ‘change of use’.

The Food Act 2014 came into force on 1 March 2016. It takes a new approach to managing food safety. Find out more about the Food Act and what it means for you.

Everyone working in the food industry has a responsibility to make sure that the food we buy is safe and suitable to eat. The Food Act 2014 takes a new approach to managing food safety. Find out more about the Act and what it means for you.

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02 Jun

Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Submissions close at 5pm on 15 July 2016.

Purpose of the proposed NPS-UDC

The purpose of the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC) is to ensure regional and district plans provide adequately for the development of business and housing. This is to enable urban areas to grow and change in response to the needs of their communities.

The five key themes of the Proposed NPS are described as:

  • Enabling growth and development while managing the effects
  • Meeting a range of demands
  • Understanding and enabling the market
  • Implications for infrastructure
  • The roles and relationships between councils.

If made operative, the NPS-UDC would be supported by guidance for local authorities on how to implement it.

Public submissions on the Proposed NPS close at 5pm, Friday 15 July 2016.  The Minister's media release states an intention that the policy take effect in October 2016 following consultation, and in conjunction with the changes to the RMA and Auckland's new Unitary Plan.

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20 Mar

Regional Updates

Regional Updates

Waikato Regional Round Up

  • The Waikato Regional Policy Statement 
  • The Waikato Regional Council 
  • The Proposed Hamilton City District Plan review 
  • Progress continues to be made on the Waikato Expressway 
  • The Waikato River Authority 
  • Southern Links transport network
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29 Oct

PROPOSED VARIATION 1: RUAKURA

PROPOSED VARIATION 1: RUAKURA

Will be notified on 11 November 2015:

The primary purpose of the variation is to rezone approximately 822ha of land within the area of land transferred to Hamilton City from Waikato District in 2011, to a variety of urban zones and including the Ruakura Inland Port approved by the BOI decision in 2014.

Three new zones, including the Knowledge Zone, Ruakura Logistics Zone and Ruakura Industrial Park Zone. The Knowledge Zone includes the University of Waikato, AgResearch and Waikato Innovation Park, all known education and research facilities. The provisions for the Logistics and Industrial Park Zones provide for a major new employment node at Ruakura based around an inland port (Logistics Zone) to capitalise on the area’s location adjacent to the Waikato Expressway, Eastern Arterial and the East Coast Main Trunk railway.

A specific Open Space Zone for the Ruakura area which reflects the intended unique multi-functional nature of the open space in this area. This extensive open space includes a greenway to run in a north-south direction alongside the variation area, with specific provisions to recognise the importance of issues such as native fish and lizard populations.

A Large Lot Residential area alongside the Logistics and Industrial Park Zones with specific provisions to take consideration of this.

Medium Density Residential and General Residential Zoned land at the northern end of the Variation area. 

A planned 600ha commercial and residential development at Ruakura by Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) and Chedworth Properties, including the 80ha Ruakura Inland Port and logistics hub, will impact significantly on the city in terms of economic benefits and job opportunities. Designed to meet the increasing population and freight demands between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, the so-called Golden Triangle, it has the potential to increase the gross regional product for the Waikato region by $4.4 billion and create 11,000 new jobs.

 

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14 Oct

AUCKLAND UNITARY PLAN UPDATE

AUCKLAND UNITARY PLAN UPDATE

The process for the Unitary Plan aims to deliver better plans that lead to good planning outcomes, including more timely plans. It is based on the standard Resource Management Act process for reviewing and changing plans, but with a number of changes made by the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010.

The main differences at the hearings stage are the introduction of an Independent Hearings Panel (rather than Council appointed commissioners) and the use of pre-hearing meetings, expert conferences and mediation to try and resolve issues before the hearing. The overall goals are to achieve better solutions and for less time to be required for formal hearings.

The Panel is a statutory body set up by the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010. Its members have been appointed by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation. It is independent of Auckland Council and any other arm of government. Auckland Council is however responsible for funding the Panel and providing staff to support the Panel.

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27 Nov

Hamilton City New Rating System Approved

Hamilton City New Rating System Approved

At its meeting on 27 Nov 2014 Hamilton City Council voted to change from the current land value (LV) rating system to a capital value (CV) rating system.

http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/our-council/news/Pages/default.aspx?newsItem=3861

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24 Nov

Duty to provide good Application

Duty to provide good Application

Duty to provide a “properly formulated” application to Council

Zwart v Gisborne District Council provides a concise and salutary reminder to consent authorities of the importance of adequately assessing and processing an application before reaching a decision and, if required, progressing to hearing. Thus a properly formulated application would have helped the Council in this case.

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08 Dec

Updates

Updates

 What’s Happening in Waikato & Auckland

Many local authorities around the Waikato are currently undertaking plan reviews. The Proposed Hamilton City District Plan and the Proposed Waipa District Plan received 45 and 28 appeals respectively to the Environment Court. Hearings have begun for the Thames Coromandel District Plan review and are expected to be completed by the April 2015. The Waikato Policy Statement is also under review, with 37 appeals lodged with the Environment Court against the decisions.

Hearings for the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, known as the 'PAUP' commenced in October. By the end of this year, the Panel would have heard a range of general matters; Issues; and the Regional Policy Statement objectives and policies. Pre-hearing meetings commence again on 13 January 2015.

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10 Feb

RE-THINK on RMA

RE-THINK on RMA

Host Stacey Morrison challenges New Zealanders to look at issues from a fresh perspective and come up with real solutions to these issues. 

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26 Feb

Waikato River

Waikato River

New collaborative initiative to restore Waikato River

https://www.national.org.nz/news/news/media-releases/detail/2015/02/26/new-collaborative-initiative-to-restore-waikato-river

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith welcomed the launch of the Waikato River Restoration Strategy, saying the new collaborative initiative will have an important role to play in ensuring the long-term health of the country’s longest river.

 

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13 May

Right to make Planning Decision on GMO

Right to make Planning Decision on GMO

GE or not GE? A victory for democracy

New Zealanders can take heart that it is now confirmed that regional councils have the right to make planning decisions about the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their regions. Environment Court Judge Newhook determined yesterday that there is jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act for regional councils to make provision for GMOs through regional policy statements and plans.

This latest decision by Judge Newhook validates and strengthens that decision, and confirms that both the HSNO Act and the RMA have complementary roles to play in the management of GMOs in the environment.

 

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19 Jun

HIGH COURT ORDERS HALT

HIGH COURT ORDERS HALT

THE HIGH COURT DECISION IS OUT !!!!!

Urban Auckland, the Society for the Protection of Auckland City and Waterfront Incorporated v Auckland Council [2015] NZHC 1382 (19 June 2015)

The judge said the decision to proceed without notification was flawed for two reasons.

He said the multiple consents should have been bundled "which would have required notification, as the most restrictive activity was a discretionary activity".

Alternatively, the judge said, a "special circumstances" clause existed which required notification in this case.

"The Commissioners fell into error in determining that because the extension was a controlled activity and an expected development no special circumstances existed so that it was unnecessary to notify in any event," Justice Venning said.

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09 Sep

Environmental Protection Authority Decision

Environmental Protection Authority Decision

After considering comments received on the Draft Report and Decision, the Board of Inquiry has made a number of ‘minor and technical’ changes to the Final Report and Decision.

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21 Oct

Opening up the Consent Process

Opening up the Consent Process

The Honourable, Dr Nick Smith indicated that he was considering creating ‘competition’ for the issuing of resource consents as one remedy to the lack of affordable housing. 

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30 Oct

Ruakura Plan Change Approved

Ruakura Plan Change Approved

The Ruakura Board of Inquiry issued its final decision on the Ruakura Plan Change on 9 September 2014. No appeals on the decision or the plan change were lodged with the High Court. 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/10351718/Ruakura-3-3b-development-One-step-closer

31 Oct

The River Plan for Hamilton

The River Plan for Hamilton

The Hamilton City River Plan is open for feedback from Friday 31 October to 4:00pm Friday 28 November 2014.

 

 http://www.hamilton.govt.nz/our-council/consultation-and-public-notices/haveyoursay/Pages/River-Plan-2014.aspx

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17 Dec

Changes to RMA from 3 March 2015

Changes to RMA from 3 March 2015

Consenting guidance:

The Ministry is in the final stages of developing implementation materials on the consenting elements of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (RMAA 2013) which will be released before Christmas. The implementation material covers the two main changes to the consent process brought in by the RMAA 2013.

More information can be adopted in a council officer’s report:

Section 42A now allows a report prepared by a council officer to adopt any information included in an application. It no longer restricts the adoption of such material to the information contained in the assessment of environmental effects only. This will reduce duplication between the application and a council officer’s report.

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21 Jan

MORE CHANGES ON THE WAY

MORE CHANGES ON THE WAY

National is to push ahead with wide-ranging reform of the Resource Management Act, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

After failing to gain the support it needed to pass changes proposed in 2012 during the last term, today National signalled that it could use its stellar election result to proceed - with little change.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/65275566/national-pushes-on-with-resource-management-act-reform

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11 May

Changes to the Earthquake Strengthening Policy

Changes to the Earthquake Strengthening Policy

Dr Nick Smith, the Minister for Building and Housing, announced the government’s proposals to change the timeframes for assessing and strengthening earthquake prone buildings.

What changed?

What it means to us..............

 

Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says the changes will reduce the number of buildings that would require assessment from an estimated 500,000 to 30,000, and bring down the total estimated cost from $1,360 million to $777 million. Currently buildings that could be a risk need to be assessed within five years, with any strengthening carried out within 15 years.

The country will now be split into 3 zones according to the risk of a big earthquake, and the timeframes for assessment and strengthening vary accordingly i.e.:

High Risk Zone – including Gisborne, Napier/Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim, and Christchurch (will keep the existing timeframe of assessment within five years and strengthening within 15 years).

Medium Risk Zone – including Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Nelson, Invercargill and Timaru.

Low Risk Zone – including Northland, Auckland, Oamaru and Dunedin.

The Government has also confirmed that the earthquake-prone building definition as being less than 34% of the new building standard, a 10-year extension for listed heritage buildings, and exemptions from strengthening for low risk, low occupancy buildings, would remain in the policy.

As Hamilton has been classed as ‘medium risk’, buildings will have 10 years to be assessed and 25 years to be strengthened under the proposed policy. Many of Hamilton’s buildings have already been assessed by engineers and it is unlikely they will be subject to any further assessment.

The return period for a significant earthquake (MM8) ranges from 120 years in Wellington, to 720 years in Christchurch, to 1700 years in Dunedin, and only once every 7,400 years in Auckland. Education and emergency buildings (e.g. hospitals) will be targeted by requiring that in high and medium seismic risk areas they be identified and strengthened in half the standard time.

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03 Jun

Hamilton moves to a Capital Value Rating System

Hamilton moves to a Capital Value Rating System

Hamilton moves to a Capital Value Rating System

The switch to capital value rating is to be confirmed by the Council on 30 June. The new system is a more appropriate way to calculate rates and the best option for the city. “About half of Hamilton’s residential ratepayers will see a decrease in their rates with the move to capital value rating. The annual 3.8 per cent increase will be levied on top of this amount. To help reduce the impact on those who will see an increase, we are phasing the new system in over 10 years.”

The new-look rates invoice features a modern design that’s easy to read and provides information about how your rates are spent.

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11 Jul

Hamilton's Proposed District Plan

Hamilton's Proposed District Plan

Decisions on Proposed District Plan released 9 July 2014

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31 Jul

Discount Regulation under RMA

Discount Regulation under RMA

The Regulations were passed on 21 June 2010 and came into effect on 31 July 2010.

The aim of the discount regulations is to encourage local authorities to process resource consents within statutory timeframes. The Act provides tools to enable local authorities to manage the different procedures during consent processing so that timeframes are met. 

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11 Apr

Ministry for the Environment Survey

Ministry for the Environment Survey

The purpose of the RMA survey to date has been to help the Minister for the Environment monitor how the RMA is being put into practice. This includes reviewing how local authorities implement both the RMA and recommended good practices.

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