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RMA Reform Series

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Published on: October 01, 2020


Background - RMA Reform

In late July, the comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act (RMA) by the Resource Management Review Panel, chaired by retired Court of Appeal Judge, Hon Tony Randerson, QC, was publicly released. The Panel recommended repeal of the RMA and its replacement with three new pieces of legislation – a Natural and Built Environments Act, a Strategic Planning Act, and a Managed Retreat and Climate Change Adaptation Act. Our summary of the Panel's report and major recommendations can be found here.
The RMA has long been subject to criticism, and the release of the Panel's report has understandably generated significant interest and public commentary. We think it is fairly safe to assume that the RMA as we know it will not survive the next term of Government, and that the Panel's recommendations will form the basis for reform.
In this series we will be working through some of the Panel's "big ticket" proposals for reform and will outline our perspectives on these. 

Part 1: Strategic Integration

In Part 1 of this series we discuss the Panel's proposals for strategic integration across the resource management system and whether integration can realistically be achieved. 

Part 2: National Direction in the Randerson Report

In this article, we explore the Panel's recommendations on national direction and share our perspectives on the opportunities and challenges presented by setting policies on issues of national significance. 

Part 3: Allocation of Freshwater

The Resource Management Review Panel recommends a shift from allocating freshwater permits under the existing first-in first-served approach (the Priority Rule) to a new, as yet undetermined approach. This article focuses primarily on how freshwater resources should be allocated.

Part 4: Consents

In this article, we consider the Review Panel's recommendations in relation to resource consent processes and provide our insights into how these changes may work in practice.

Part 5: Compliance, Monitoring & Enforcement

The Resource Management Review Panel rightly notes that effective and efficient compliance, monitoring and enforcement (CME) are "hallmarks of a well-functioning regulatory system" –  but that the RMA's CME system is not meeting that objective. In this article, the Panel identifies two main categories of issues facing CME: those arising from current institutional arrangements and those arising from legislative deficiencies.

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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