PROJECTS / Our own submission on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
As planning professionals in a rapidly changing world, we are constantly engaged in evaluating and contributing to best practice, exploring developments in planning practice in New Zealand and internationally, and contributing to the key debates in planning and related disciplines. The proposed amendments to the Resource Management Act are something we feel strongly about, and it is important to us that our views are heard.
We felt that the amendments focussed on saving time and saving some people money, and not on robust decision making to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources – which is the whole purpose of the RMA, after all.
We based our submission on our experiences implementing the RMA, helping our clients interpret their legislative requirements and being involved with resource management processes throughout New Zealand.
We felt that the amendments focussed on saving time and saving some people money, and not on robust decision making to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources – which is the whole purpose of the RMA, after all. The Bill focussed on correcting the legislation when, in our experience, it is poor practise in implementing the RMA that needs to be addressed and remedied.
Concerns about limiting participation A massive amount of changes were introduced. Instead of commenting on each of the 218 pages of changes, we focussed our energy on the key issues as we saw them. This included the proposal to split the First Schedule process into two new processes: The collaborative planning approach and the streamlined process. We outlined our concerns that these proposed new processes wouldn’t result in better outcomes for communities, when in fact it would limit the ability of the community to participate.
We also focussed on the proposed changes to iwi participation. These changes purported to encourage high value participation and iwi engagement in resource management processes, which is something we support. However, we felt the proposed changes did not go far enough to improve on the requirements already existing in Clause 3B of the First Schedule, but that are poorly implemented by councils. The amendments focussed on Māori participation at iwi authorities, and while this does engage with Māori at a regional level, it overlooked participation by hapu and whānau.
We presented our submission to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee in Wellington. It was great experience and we received encouraging comments about our submission efforts and were really impressed by those members of the committee who asked thoughtful and important questions to really try and understand our concerns. Great to be a part of, and see, democracy in action. Presenting meant that we were able to sit down and look the decision makers in the eye and tell them that this stuff matters to us.
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