LGNZ welcomes more streamlined planning options for councils and communities

26 Nov 2015, 2:40 PM

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) welcomes the Government’s announcement of amendments to the Resource Management Act (RMA) and related statutes.

LGNZ Vice President Brendan Duffy says he is optimistic the proposals will streamline planning processes and standardise some aspects of resource management plans. This will ultimately save time and money for councils and communities.

“Planning costs across the country are in the millions.  We welcome amendments to the Bill that will make these processes easier and more cost efficient for councils and our communities,” says Mr Duffy.

“We also welcome the amendment to provide councils with different options to develop plans.  New models have already been tested in Auckland and Canterbury and we’re pleased they will be made available to other parts of the country,” says Mr Duffy.

Planning for hazards such as coastal erosion and storm surges is among the most challenging and contentious issues faced by councils.  Mr Duffy is particularly pleased the amendment Bill recognises the risks associated with natural hazards as a new principle in the Act and gives councils provision to prepare for these events.

“The local government sector has been advocating for this addition to the Act for some time, a call recently echoed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in her latest report on sea level rise,” says Mr Duffy.

Changes to resource management in New Zealand have long been a key focus for local government.  LGNZ has recently launched a review of the resource management system which takes a ‘Blue Skies” look at options and solutions needed to develop a fit-for-purpose regime.  This includes both the evolution of the current Act and a wider review of the resource management system.  The review is a key policy initiative for the sector and fits with LGNZ’s strategy policy priorities around leadership of important economic and environmental policy. 

LGNZ will consult with members on the proposals in the Bill and welcomes a coordinated approach with Government to implement these changes.