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Resource Management Act review under way

The National-led Government promised to introduce legislation to amend the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) within 100 days of forming the new government. Streamlining and simplifying the RMA is an important part of the Government's programme, which includes assisting in an economic recovery.

On 2 February 2009 the Minister for the Environment, Nick Smith announced a package of amendments that would comprise 'phase one' of the RMA review. Details of these amendments can be found on the Ministry for the Environment's website: www.mfe.govt.nzMfE.  

The Department of Building and Housing is one of a number of government departments contributing to the review. Departmental staff have been involved in discussions on the proposed phase one amendments and will also provide input into phase two.

Phase one has focused mainly on changes to RMA processes that will reduce the time and cost of getting a resource consent or plan change. Phase two will cover a wider range of topics, though its exact scope has not yet been determined.

Throughout the review the Department is considering what changes to the RMA can best benefit the building and housing sector, including any changes that will improve the interface between the RMA and the Building Act 2004. The Department's input into the review is being informed by evidence-based experiences of individuals and organisations in the building and housing sector.

A Bill containing the phase one amendments is likely to be introduced to Parliament in mid-February 2009. The Bill will be referred to a Select Committee and any person can make a submission on it. The Bill is likely to be reported back from the Select Committee in late August 2009, so the amendments can start to take effect before the end of this year.