Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the Local Government and Environment Committee’s report on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.

“This legislation improves New Zealand’s environmental management, helps increase the supply and affordability of housing and supports jobs and growth. It contains 40 proposals that make significant changes to five different Acts and is the most comprehensive package of reform to the Resource Management Act since its inception 25 years ago,” 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 reached agreement with the Government to support the Bill through all remaining stages in Parliament following detailed consideration of the initial policy and the inclusion of proposed changes to strengthen the original Iwi Participation Agreement. The Mana Whakahono ā Rohe/Iwi Participation Agreement provides a better framework for councils to meet their existing obligations to consult with local iwi. Many councils already have these agreements through Treaty settlements or good practice. The Government supports these provisions because we want iwi involved in how natural resources are managed and because formalising the process will help achieve better outcomes with less delays and costs.

“This is a huge bill and the Maori Party was not a member of the select committee. They need time to digest all of the select committee’s detailed changes to ensure they 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.”

The Bill will come back to the House for its second reading this week.

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