"The Final Straw for the RMA?" published in RM Journal

Mon Sept. 26th 2016

“The Final Straw for the RMA? Some shortcomings of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015” has been published in the latest edition of the Resource Management Journal.


Simon Berry and Helen Andrews’ paper “The Final Straw for the RMA? Some shortcomings of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015” (RLAB or the Bill) has been published in the latest edition of the Resource Management Journal, the flagship publication of the Resource Management Law Association.

The article outlines Berry Simons’ concerns about changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) proposed in the Bill which could, following previous poorly conceived amendments, render the RMA unworkable.

While some aspects of the Bill are positive and supported, a number of the amendments would have significant detrimental ramifications for all those involved in the resource management sphere if enacted as currently drafted. In our view, the RMA does not require such radical revisions, which will only reduce the ability to implement the legislation as intended.

Our four key concerns regarding the Bill relate to:

  • Amendments that are based on flawed assumptions or seek to address problems which have not been proven to exist and / or which could be dealt with under the existing RMA framework.
  • Poor drafting coupled with the introduction of entirely novel legal concepts that will introduce further confusion, costs and delay.
  • Further reductions in opportunities for public participation and access to justice.
  • The continued aggregation of power to the Minister for the Environment at the expense of planning by cooperative mandate, which has always been one of the cornerstones of New Zealand planning legislation.

Berry Simons strongly believes there is a lack of justification to introduce many aspects of the Bill and that the issues summarised above deserve full and rigorous debate. This needs to occur before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee reports back on the Bill on 7 November 2016. We invite you to share your views regarding the Bill via our LinkedIn page and to contact Simon or Helen if you wish to discuss the issues further.


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