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An improved RMA better for all Kiwis, NZPI says

Auckland – November 30, 2015

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill before Parliament this week seeks to simplify and streamline the planning processes which would be good for all Kiwis, the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) chair Bryce Julyan says.

The NZPI welcomes the chance to examine the changes and their members will continue to contribute to the discussion, he says.

The reforms to the country’s main planning statute are expected to support business growth and housing development while still providing for effective environmental management.

Julyan says the NZPI support the principle of proposed new national planning templates for councils, faster and more flexible planning processes, reduced requirements for minor consents, better integration with other legislation and stronger national direction on issues such as housing.

“NZPI are supportive of stronger national direction to boost strategic outcomes and the concept of national templates has been something that has been considered for a while. Critically, the RMA changes will set up the mechanism for template plans

“As the representative body of more than 2000 planners in New Zealand, we will continue to be at the forefront of changes to the planning process. We will review the details of the Bill and look forward to participating in the Select Committee process.

“While many of the changes may help speed up processes, the key issue for the NZPI and all New Zealanders to consider is whether this will achieve the outcomes we want. The changes may go some way towards aligning legislation, achieving national consistency and offering more flexibility.

“The major potential benefits for New Zealand will be a nationally cohesive planning framework and clearer national direction, supported by integrated legislation. The NZPI will be looking in particular at the new plan making processes proposed as options for councils to follow, in addition to the standard process for plan-making, the Bill introduces a streamlined option and a collaborative option which have different implications.

“Proposed changes include the provision for Iwi participation agreements which may offer opportunities for councils to partner effectively with mana whenua. Changes are also proposed that affect appeal rights and these in particular may be of interest to many parties. While these changes to process may be helpful in terms of efficiency, from a planning perspective the key issue will be whether these changes to process will be effective for plan makers to produce plans that achieve good outcomes.

“The reforms intend to speed up processes and reduce bureaucracy and this is welcomed as a first step. However, it is the detail that emerges from these that is important. While the reforms may enable a more efficient framework it is the quality of the products that come out of the process that will be critical, such as the quality of the national guidance and templates.”

Julyan says the NZPI is looking forward to continuing to participate and will be canvassing its members for comments to prepare a submission to the Select Committee.

For further information contact NZPI chair Bryce Julyan on 27 440 5464 or Make Lemonade media specialist Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: NZPI chair Bryce Julyan.

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