About the resource management system review

New Zealand faces a number of pressing environmental problems that need to be addressed. These include:

  • increasing pressure on New Zealand’s natural environment
  • urban areas struggling to keep pace with population growth
  • the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change
  • the need to ensure that Māori have an effective role in the system, consistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • the need to improve system efficiency and effectiveness.

New Directions for Resource Management in New Zealand is the most significant, broad ranging and inclusive review to take place within the system since the Resource Management Act (RMA) came into force in 1991.

This review was conducted by the independent Resource Management Review Panel chaired by retired Court of Appeal Judge, Hon Tony Randerson, QC.

The reform of the resource management system is critical to the continued well-being of New Zealand. It addresses significant pressures on both the natural and built environments. Urban areas are struggling to keep pace with population growth, water quality is deteriorating, biodiversity is diminishing and there is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.

The review process was an opportunity to design a new system for resource management in New Zealand that delivers better outcomes for our environment, society, economy, and culture. The Panel has come up with a large number of recommendations that will reorient the system to focus on delivery of specified outcomes, targets and limits in the natural and built environments.

We encourage everyone to engage with the report. The next step in the reform process will be consultation to develop government policy and the form of future legislation.

To comment on the review or for more information email us at rmreform@mfe.govt.nz.

Scope of the review

The scope of the review included looking at the RMA and how it interfaces with these other pieces of legislation, as shown in the diagram below:

  • Local Government Act 2002
  • Land Transport Management Act 2003
  • Climate Change Response Act, to be amended by the Zero Carbon Amendment Bill.

The review considered a new role for spatial planning, looking at plans and processes across the RMA, LGA and LTMA. This considers new ways that planning could respond to the pressures of urban growth, and better manage environmental effects. This has the potential to help us make better and more strategic decisions about resources and infrastructure over longer timeframes.

The review also sought ways to improve intergenerational wellbeing by strengthening environmental protection and better enabling urban development outcomes within environmental limits.

Diagram showing what is and isn’t in the scope of the review

rm scope diagram1
Venn diagram showing the scope of the review. The RMA is within scope of the review, including how it interfaces with the Local Government Act, the Land Transport Management Act, and the Climate Change Response Act. This includes spatial planning which works at the intersection of the RMA, the LGA and the LTMA. Areas of others Acts which do not intersect with the RMA are out of scope.

Review process

Cabinet agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of the resource management system in July 2019. The resource management review was officially launched by Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment, on 24 July 2019.

A panel of experts was appointed to undertake the review. Meeting weekly throughout the review, they worked with officials to thoroughly examine the current resource management system.

Panel members

The review was led by the Resource Management Review Panel (the Panel).

Hon Tony Randerson QC - Chair

Hon Randerson is a former lawyer and judge with extensive experience in resource management law. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He was subsequently appointed as a High Court Judge in 1997 and was made the Chief High Court Judge in 2004. In 2010 he was appointed to the Court of Appeal where he served until his retirement in May 2017. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Faculty of Law at University of Auckland. In 1990, Hon Randerson chaired the group that reviewed the Resource Management Bill before it was enacted as the RMA in 1991.

Rachel Brooking

Rachel Brooking was a specialist environment and local government lawyer. She is a Senior Associate of law firm Anderson Lloyd. Rachel has a degree in ecology and previously worked for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Rachel is Chair of the Otago/Southland branch of the Resource Management Law Association.

Dean Kimpton

Dean Kimpton has been Chief Operating Officer at Auckland Council and Managing Director at engineering and planning consultancy AECOM. He is currently a member of the Building Advisory Panel for the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, and has previously been a board member of Infrastructure New Zealand. He is a qualified civil engineer and is a Past President of Engineering New Zealand.

Amelia Linzey

Amelia Linzey is a leading planner. She is Senior Technical Director of the planning team at engineering and planning consultancy Beca. Amelia has been a member of the Advisory Board for the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council and an editor for the New Zealand Planning Institute’s official journal.

Raewyn Peart MNZM

Raewyn Peart has extensive experience in environmental law and policy. She is currently the Policy Director at the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) and was leading its Reform of the resource management system project. She was a member of the collaborative Sea Change - Tai Timu Tai Pari - Stakeholder Working Group which successfully prepared a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf, the first in New Zealand.

Kevin Prime MBE ONZM

Kevin Prime is of Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whatua, Tainui and Welsh descent. He is a beef farmer, forester, and conservationist based in Northland. He is an Environment Commissioner with the Environment Court. Kevin has served on committees and advisory groups pertaining to a wide range of issues, including Māori affairs, conservation, health and fresh water.

Key documents

Issues and options

The panel released its Issues and options paper in November 2019.

The period for submissions on the issues and options closed on 3 February 2020.

The panel previously released the Preliminary outline of the issues and options [PDF, 75 KB].

Papers the panel received

The panel received a variety of information and advice over the course of its review, from many different sources. The Ministry is making these documents publically available in stages.

Working papers

These documents were prepared for the panel as thought pieces on various aspects of the resource management system.

Terms of reference

See the Terms of reference for the Resource Management Review Panel [PDF, 806 KB].

You can also read the Draft terms of reference which were released earlier in the year.

Ministers’ letters

The Environment Minister invited other ministers to suggest what the review should cover. Some of their responses are available below.