Appendix 1: Terms of Reference for the Select Committee Inquiry

  1. The purpose of the inquiry is to provide feedback on the extent to which the provisions in the exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill will support the resource management reform objectives, to:
    1. protect and where necessary restore the natural environment, including its capacity to provide for the well-being of present and future generations
    2. better enable development within environmental biophysical limits including a significant improvement in housing supply, affordability and choice, and timely provision of appropriate infrastructure, including social infrastructure
    3. give effect to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and provide greater recognition of te ao Māori, including mātauranga Māori
    4. better prepare for adapting to climate change and risks from natural hazards, and better mitigate emissions contributing to climate change
    5. improve system efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce complexity, while retaining appropriate local democratic input.
  2. The select committee is asked to pay particular attention to objective (e) when providing their feedback on point 1.
  3. The select committee is also asked to collate a list of ideas (including considering the examples in the parliamentary paper) for making the new system more efficient, more proportionate to the scale and/or risks associated with given activities, more affordable for the end user, and less complex, compared to the current system.
  4. For the avoidance of doubt, the scope of the inquiry is limited to the following:
    1. feedback on the exposure draft
    2. feedback on the material in the parliamentary paper that provides rationale for the clauses in the exposure draft
    3. collating a list of ideas for point 3 above.

Appendix 2: Examples of system efficiencies

List of examples to increase efficiency and reduce complexity in the resource management system:

Increased central direction and tools, for example:

  • greater accountability mechanism for councils in exercising governance of their planning functions
  • centralised digital tools and platforms including providing national data sets, standardised methods and models (eg natural hazard data, water allocation)
  • developing controls through national standards where these are more appropriate than bespoke planning controls (eg silt control for subdivisions and roads)
  • developing template standards that are available for councils to adopt as appropriate
  • standardised methods for assessing significance or determining technical matters (eg the interaction between natural character, indigenous biodiversity and outstanding natural landscapes).

Efficiency in NBA plan development and content, for example:

  • streamlined and more flexible consultation requirements for plan development
  • requiring written submissions rather than oral
  • standardised templates for residential zones
  • limiting detailed amenity/urban design rules such as centres policies and business zone restriction
  • setting a minimum enabled development capacity within residential zones (eg under the National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020)
  • stricter controls on the use of expert evidence
  • stricter controls on information requirements, including when (RMA section 37 equivalent) requests are used (eg request for further information and time waivers)
  • robust processes for managing complaints
  • greater accountability mechanism for councils in exercising governance of their planning functions.

Reframing the RMA definition of ‘adverse effects’, including strengthened proportionality requirements for obligations to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects on the environment.

Enabling simplified resource consent processes, for example:

  • limits on the information that can be requested in consent applications
  • deemed permitted activities and less use of discretionary activity status
  • national consenting pathways
  • standardising consent conditions
  • design guidelines and use of urban design panels for medium and high density developments
  • pre-consented model or multiple-use house/townhouse designs
  • enabling better evaluation of the national or regional opportunity costs.

Enabling more effective dispute resolution and participation, for example:

  • reviewing the role and processes of the Environment Court and appeal rights in planning and consenting processes
  • simplifying formal first instance processes such as Board of Inquiry, direct referral to Environment Court, and Freshwater Commissioners
  • use of inquisitional rather than adversarial proceedings in forums
  • effective support for iwi, hapū and Māori participation.

Measures to speed up the delivery of infrastructure, for example:

  • removing statutory hurdles to designations and consents
  • classifying specified infrastructure as a ‘controlled’ activity (eg for climate change mitigation and adaptation, to comply with health and safety requirements)
  • streamlining the Public Works Act objections process and designations appeal processes
  • alternative funding mechanisms for infrastructure (wider than development contributions).

Appendix 3: Governance processes for reform

Ministerial Oversight Group

A Ministerial Oversight Group (MOG) was established in December 2020 and authorised by Cabinet to take policy decisions on reform, enabling the large-scale and fast-paced decision-making that is necessary. The MOG includes:

  • Hon Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance (Chair)
  • Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment (Deputy Chair)
  • Hon Kelvin Davis, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti
  • Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Housing
  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Local Government
  • Hon Poto Williams, Minister for Building and Construction
  • Hon Damien O’Connor, Minister of Agriculture
  • Hon Peeni Henare, Acting Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Hon Willie Jackson, Minister for Māori Development
  • Hon Michael Wood, Minister of Transport
  • Hon Kiritapu Allan, Associate Minister for the Environment
  • Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall, Acting Minister of Conservation
  • Hon Phil Twyford, Associate Minister for the Environment, and
  • Hon James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change.

The MOG has considered policy detail to progress the NBA exposure draft, and will continue to make decisions for all three pieces of legislation in the reform package.

Working with iwi, hapū and Māori groups

Engagement with iwi, hapū and Māori on the reform has three main streams (noted below), managed as separate but complementing approaches. The key focus across all three streams is to get feedback on key aspects of the reform that relate to iwi, hapū and Māori, in particular all recommendations from Chapter 3 of the Panel’s report.

Specific focuses for each stream are:

  • Post Settlement Governance Entities – direct engagement with officials on their specific settlement and how this will be carried through to the new system
  • Wider Māori engagement – regionally focused engagement with iwi, hapū and Māori not affiliated with local iwi on region specific context important for the new system
  • Māori groups being engaged collectively on key technical aspects of policy development:
    • New Zealand Māori Council, Federation of Māori Authorities, and Kāhui Wai Māori; and
    • Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group, and Te Wai Māori Trust.

Working with local government

Government officials have conducted targeted engagement with local government on policy proposals, including council experts, a local Government Chief Executives Forum, a small group of Mayors, Local Government New Zealand’s Policy Advisory Group, and the Regional, Metropolitan, Rural and Provincial sector groups. The Minister for the Environment has participated in some of this engagement.

Ongoing engagement with local government on resource management reform will be critical to the reform’s success, particularly on how central and local government will transition to and implement the new system. The Minister will be increasing engagement with local government on this, as well as working with Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā (the national membership organisation for local government professionals).

Appendix 4: Summary of how Panel recommendations have been addressed

Policy issue Panel proposal Whether and how it has been reflected in the exposure draft
Purpose of NBA
  • Enhance the quality of the environment to support the well-being of present and future generations and to recognise the concept of Te Mana o te Taiao
  • Clearer articulation that the system is to enable use of the environment within limits
  • Te Oranga o Te Taiao has been adopted instead of Te Mana o Te Taiao after it was proposed by the FILG and TWMT, and agreed to by Ministers
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Give effect to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Adopted as recommended by the Panel
Environmental limits
  • Requirement to set mandatory limits set for core domains of the natural environment such as air, biodiversity, coastal waters, estuaries, freshwater and soil
  • Purpose of limits refined (to protect ecological integrity and human health)
  • Clarified limits are to be framed as the minimum acceptable biophysical state or maximum amount of harm or stress that may be permitted
  • Requirement for a ‘buffer’ replaced with the more general ‘precautionary approach’
Environmental outcomes
  • Requirement to deliver 21 outcomes spanning environmental protection, heritage, te ao Māori, urban and regional development and infrastructure
  • Outcome topics retained but refined
National Planning Framework
  • Current forms of national direction should be retained (and roles clarified)
  • National direction should be brought together into a coherent combined set and any conflicts resolved
  • Purpose of national direction should be setting provisions in respect of matters of national significance to give effect to the purpose and principles of the NBA and to resolve any conflicts between these matters
  • Mandatory national direction required on a range of topics
  • Board of Inquiry process required for national policy statements and national environmental standards, except for minor changes for which an alternative process can be adopted
  • National direction should be reviewed every nine years
  • Consolidation of the functions and role of national regulatory instruments into a single National Planning Framework
  • Purpose of the NPF is to further the purpose of the NBA
  • New strategic component added to set out vision, direction and priorities, and assist in resolving conflicts
  • A more focused list of mandatory central government direction proposed, which prioritises areas where direction is most needed to support timely development of regional spatial strategies and NBA plans
  • Process to develop, amend, and review the NPF yet to be determined
Natural and Built Environments Plans
  • Single combined plan recommended for each region
  • Decided by a joint committee involving local government, mana whenua, and a representative of the Minister of Conservation
  • Independent Hearing Panel process based on the Auckland Unitary Plan model
  • Single regional plan concept retained
  • Governance and process issues yet to be addressed in detail

Appendix 5: Abbreviations and key terms

  • CAA – Proposed Climate Adaptation Act
  • CCRA – Climate Change Response Act 2002
  • Infrastructure – is not yet defined in the Bill (there is a placeholder in clause 3). However, the term typically refers to structures and facilities essential for society (eg buildings, roads, power supplies, housing, schools, hospitals, defence)
  • MOG – Ministerial Oversight Group
  • NBA – Proposed Natural and Built Environments Act
  • NPF – Proposed National Planning Framework
  • Reform – resource management reform
  • RMA – Resource Management Act 1991
  • RM – resource management (eg RM reform, RM system)
  • RM system – refers to the current and future system (as the context requires) and how it interacts with other statutes including the Local Government Act 2002, Land Transport Management Act 2003 and Climate Change Response Act 2002
  • RSS – Regional Spatial Strategy under the proposed Strategic Planning Act
  • SPA – Proposed Strategic Planning Act
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi – New Zealand’s founding document, an agreement made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs) in 1840
  • The Panel – The Resource Management Review Panel

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