Legislation to improve environmental management, help increase housing supply and affordability, and support jobs and growth has passed its second reading in Parliament 61-59, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is the largest package of reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA) since it was first passed 25 years ago. It contains 40 proposals that make significant changes to five different Acts.

“This reform is critical to addressing housing supply and affordability by making it easier, faster and less costly to create new sections. Section prices in Auckland have gone from $100,000 in 1990 to $530,000 today and are the core reason housing has become excessively expensive. It addresses this core issue by opening up land supply, reducing the time taken to get consents, reducing the cost of land subdivision and enabling the construction of infrastructure. Parties that are opposing this Bill are blocking the very changes that will make housing more affordable,” Dr Smith says.

This is the second phase of the Government’s resource management reforms, and the dozen significant provisions in the Bill include:

National planning standards to reduce complexity and cost Streamlined planning process to improve responsiveness Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks New 10-day consent category for minor activities New requirements for council to free up land for housing New provisions to enable stock exclusion from waterways New provisions requiring decommissioning plans for offshore platforms More generous compensation for land required for public works Better alignment with other Acts like Reserves, Conservation and EEZ Collaborative planning process to encourage community-led solutions Improved Maori participation arrangements

“The Maori Party has supported the Bill to this stage and we are continuing to work with them to ensure detailed changes as a result of the select committee process are consistent with their agreement with the Government. I will be meeting with the Maori Party co-leaders on ensuring we have got the detail right,” Dr Smith says.

“This second phase of the Government’s RMA reforms builds on the first, and will support the additional jobs, infrastructure and housing needed for a strongly growing and successful economy.”

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