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Repeal and Replacement of the RMA Confirmed

Home Insights Repeal and Replacement of the RMA Confirmed

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Contributed by: Daniel Minhinnick, Kristen Gunnell

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Published on: February 10, 2021


Following on from the Report of the Resource Management Review Panel issued last year, Minister Parker has today announced the process for the reform of the resource management system. As was expected, the Government has confirmed its intention to repeal the Resource Management Act 1991 and replace it with the three new pieces of legislation recommended by the Review Panel - the Natural and Built Environments Act, Strategic Planning Act and the Climate Change Adaptation Act. See here for a summary of the reform proposal and process. The Government has indicated that the reform will be based on the findings of the Review Panel report. Our summary of the Panel's report and major recommendations can be found here with more in-depth comment on the Panel's significant proposals here.
The Minister has taken on board the Panel's recommendations for increased national direction by central government and envisages that this will be called the "National Planning Framework". The Minister also recognises in the accompanying Cabinet Paper that significant resourcing and support will be required from central government in the short and long-term including in respect of: the development of combined plans; the consolidation of national direction into a single integrated format in preparation for being incorporated into the National Planning Framework; increasing the capacity and capability throughout the system including iwi and local authorities; and an improved environmental monitoring and reporting system.

Reform Process

  • Early 2021: Ministerial Oversight Group established which will have delegated decision-making powers to progress an exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill including development of policy and consultation material. The Ministerial Oversight Group will comprise the Ministers for/of Finance (Chair), Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Housing, Environment, Local Government, Building and Construction, Agriculture, Transport, Conservation, Associate Environment Hon Kiritapu Allan, Associate Environment Hon Phil Twyford, and Climate Change.
  • The Minister also proposes engaging with the newly formed Māori Collective (comprised of existing groups such as National Iwi Chairs Forum (through its Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group), New Zealand Māori Council, Te Wai Māori Trust, Kahui Wai Māori, and the Federation of Māori Authorities) to refine policy options as proposals are developed.
  • May 2021: An exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill will be released to a select committee with supporting consultation material. The exposure draft will contain the main structure and headings of the Natural and Built Environments Bill, with certain aspects fully drafted.
  • June to September 2021: A special select committee inquiry will consider this Bill. The Strategic Planning Bill and Climate Change Adaptation Bill will be developed in a parallel process with the latter managed out of the Minister for Climate Change office. 
  • Dec 2021: The Natural and Built Environments Bill and the Strategic Planning Bill will be introduced to Parliament in late 2021. A standard select committee process will consider the final versions of the Natural and Built Environments Act and the Strategic Planning Act. Consultation on the Climate Change Adaptation Act will be done separately to this at this stage.
  • December 2022: It is intended that all three pieces of legislation are passed by the end of 2022.


Opportunity to be involved

Other than Māori and local government, the Minister has indicated that engagement prior to the release of the exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill will be limited to "selected stakeholders necessary to ensure the new system works". Select committee processes will be the primary method of engagement with wider stakeholders and the general public. The Government has set an ambitious timeframe for the enactment of the new legislation. It will be critical to engage in its development. Please contact one of our experts for more detail of what the reform might mean for your business and how you can become involved.

This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.

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