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RMA Amendment Act 2017

RMA Amendment Act 2017
18 Apr 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).

The following checklist sets out the actions that councils need to take to implement these changes immediately and over time.

New mandatory actions from the 2017 Resource Legislation Amendments:

Apply from day after [Royal Assent]

Natural hazards


Recognise and provide for management of significant risks from natural hazards.

Animal drinking water


Treat ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ persons (including companies and trusts) the same as private individuals when managing animal drinking water.

Procedural principles


Incorporate new principles for efficiency, clarity and collaboration in council RMA procedures.

Development capacity


Establish, implement and review objectives, policies and methods to ensure sufficient development capacity to meet long-term demands of the region/district/city (also see NPS Urban Development Capacity).

Hazardous Substances

s30 and s31

Be aware that regional and territorial authorities no longer have the explicit function to control certain matters related to hazardous substances.

Section 32 reports


Include iwi authority advice and the response to this in section 32 evaluation reports.

Plan hearing panel


Consult iwi about including a commissioner with tikanga Maori and local iwi/hapu perspective to a plan hearing panel, and appoint if appropriate.

Monitoring RMA processes


Monitor efficiency and effectiveness of council processes, powers, functions, duties.

Mana whakahono a rohe/iwi participation arrangement

s35A, s58K-T, cl 1A, 1B and 26A of Schedule 1

Respond to requests by iwi authorities for a mana whakahono a rohe/iwi participation arrangement, and prepare it within 18 months (unless otherwise agreed) – see new section 58P Keep records about these arrangements.

Combined plans


Apply RMA Part 5 requirements when preparing a combined plan.

Written notice to requiring authorities about district plan reviews

Schedule 1 cl 4

State which planning process the council intends to use (SPP, CPP or Part 1 Schedule 1) in written notices to requiring authorities (and other information if the council intends to use the collaborative planning process).

Iwi input to draft plans

Schedule 1 cl 4A

Seek and have particular regard to iwi advice on draft policy statements and plans.

Land acquisition

Public Works Act

s 72 – 72E

Adjust compensation payments for taking private land under the Public Works Act.

Apply from 1 October 2017

Public notices





Publish public notices on an internet site, with a summary in one or more newspapers.

Ensure the notice and the short summary are worded in clear and concise manner.



Check implications of subdivision being permitted unless it is restricted by a rule in a NES or a plan.

s6, 106, and 220

Ensure subdivision consent processes incorporate new requirements related to natural hazards.

Fast-track consents

s87AAC and 87AAD

Apply new consent process for fast-track consent applications.

Boundary activities

s87AAB – 87BA

Establish a system to record, charge and issue notices for permitted ‘boundary activities’.

Consent Exemptions


Establish a system to record, charge and issue resource consent waivers for marginal/temporary non-compliance.

Consent notification

s95 – 95E

Apply new step by step process to determine public or limited notification of resource consent applications.

Consent decisions


Have regard to measures proposed by an applicant to offset or compensate for adverse effects


Ensure resource consent conditions comply with new section 108AA.

Consent appeals


Ensure that any advice  is consistent with the new limits on Environment Court appeal rights.

Electronic address


If a person has specified an electronic address for service, and has not requested an alternative, ensure the electronic address is used as an address for service.

Objections to consents

s357AB, 357C, and 357CA

Incorporate independent commissioner changes to the objection process for consents.

Plan-making extensions

Schedule 1 clause s10A

If required, apply to the Minister for any extension to the 2-year timeframe for plan-making.

Apply within one year of first national planning standards publication (which will be within 2 years of [Royal Assent])

National planning standards


Amend planning documents to give effect to the directions provided by the national planning standards that do not require using the Schedule 1 process, unless the standard itself provides a different timeframe.   

Online plans


Ensure all planning documents (and changes/variations) are freely available for use on a single website

Apply within five years of [Royal Assent]

Financial contributions

Schedule 12 cl 18

Amend plans to remove financial contribution provisions.

Apply within five years of first national planning standards publication

National planning standards


Amend planning documents to give effect to the national planning standards that require using the Schedule 1 process, unless the standard itself provides a different timeframe.

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