Pathway to reform

In February 2021, the Government announced it would repeal the RMA and enact new legislation based on the recommendations of an expert review panel lead by Hon. Tony Randerson KC.

The three proposed Acts are: 

  • The Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA), as the main replacement for the Resource Management Act (RMA), to protect and restore the environment while better enabling development; 
  • The Spatial Planning Act (SPA), requiring the development of long-term regional spatial strategies (RSS) to help coordinate and integrate decisions made under relevant legislation; and 
  • The Climate Adaptation Act (CAA), to address complex issues associated with managed retreat. 

Read the RM Reform Cabinet paper  

The Natural and Built Environment and the Spatial Planning Bills were introduced to Parliament on 15 November 2022. The Climate Adaptation Bill is expected to follow in 2023.  

Development of the new legislation

In January 2021 a Ministerial Oversight Group was given delegated authority to make the policy decisions needed to progress the legislation.
The Minister of Finance chaired the group, with Minister for the Environment as Deputy Chair. Members included the Ministers of Māori Crown Relations - Te Arawhiti, Housing, Local Government, Building and Construction, Agriculture, Māori Development, Transport, Conservation, and Climate Change, as well as Associate Ministers for the Environment. 
This group met every few weeks to review advice on multiple policy papers – essentially 17 cabinet papers which contained over 1,000 policy recommendations along with 45 detailed decisions paper.  
The Group was supported by a Spatial Planning Reform Board consisting of chief executives from the Ministry for the Environment, Treasury, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Conservation.

Engaging on the RM Reforms

In July 2021 an exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environment Act was considered by a select committee inquiry. This provided a platform for stakeholders and the public to have an early say on the key legislation.
The select committee process for both the Natural and Built Environment and the Spatial Planning Bills has started, following the Bills' introduction to Parliament.

Find out more about the select committee process on the Parliament website.
Throughout development of the reforms, government has engaged with iwi/Māori, local government and sector stakeholders on key components of the future resource management system.   

NBA Exposure Draft

The exposure draft released in June 2021 outlined key aspects of the proposed Natural and Built Environments Act. An exposure draft refers to legislation that has not yet formally been introduced into Parliament. 
The exposure draft covered the purpose of the Natural and Built Environment Act, Te Tiriti o Waitangi clause and related provisions, the National Planning Framework, and natural and built environments plans.  
This gave the public the chance to provide feedback on the main aspects of the proposed legislation, helping to make sure the Bill is robust as possible when it is introduced to Parliament.  
The select committee considered more than three thousand submissions from hapū, iwi and Māori, local government, key stakeholders, environmental groups, and the public, and over 300 oral submissions across five weeks. These included a high number of high-quality, constructive submissions. from key stakeholders.  
The select committee released a report with its recommendations on 1 November 2021. It noted that the environmental outcomes sought by the NBA were comprehensive, applying across the natural environment, cultural values, climate change, natural hazards, and urban and rural areas. The report also provided ideas for making the resource management system more efficient and cost effective. The Government responded to this report on 17 February 2022.  
The submissions and select committee recommendations inform the final shape of the Natural and Built Environment Bill.   This Bill along with the Spatial Planning Bill were introduced to Parliament on 15 November 2022.    

Read the exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill and explanatory material 

Read the Minister’s media release on the exposure draft [Beehive website] 

Read the Summary of initial impact analysis and the Interim regulatory impact statement on reforming the resource management system 

Read the select committee’s report from the exposure draft inquiry 

Read the Government’s response to the select committee’s report 

Engagement with iwi/Māori  

We’re continuing to work with hapū, iwi and Māori, including leadership groups and technical experts, to develop the Natural and Built Environments and Spatial Planning Acts.  
Collective leadership groups we regularly engage with are: Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and Te Wai Māori Trust and the Te Tai Kaha group comprising the New Zealand Māori Council, Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA), and the Kāhui Wai Māori.  
We are also working with post-settlement governance entities (PSGEs) on how their settlement arrangements will be carried over into the future system. A Ministerial Advisory Board of Te Tiriti experts is assisting with this work, providing independent advice on how we ensure the process is robust and fair.  

Engagement with the local government sector  

The Ministry is engaging with the local government sector to ensure successful implementation by:

  • working with the Local Government Steering Group and their technical advisors
  • participating in local government chief executives’ mayoral forums  
  • meeting Local Government New Zealand stakeholders  
  • engaging with council planning groups.   

We have also met with Local Government New Zealand sector groups and the Local Government Steering Group to provide updates on the reform. 

Read more about the Steering Group.

From 1 November 2021 to 3 March 2022, Ministry officials undertook 61 separate engagements with partners and key stakeholders, resulting in 151 written submissions. They held 11 online information sessions for wider communities.    

Read Te Pūnaha whakahaere rauemi o anamata: Kaupapa kōrero