The next snippet in our series of blogs on recent RMA amendments relates to the right to appeal council decisions on resource consents. These changes to section 120 kick in on 18 October 2017.
What is an appeal?
Generally, it's like a second opinion. If a party is unhappy with a decision made by a council as the result of a hearing, they can make an appeal to the Environment Court.
The Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) was adopted by the New Zealand government in April 2017. It contains changes to 5 different Acts, one of which is the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Some of the changes to the RMA happened immediately, and others will go live in October 2017.
The recent changes to s120 of the Act will restrict the extent of appeal rights. After 18 October 2017 you can no longer appeal a decision on a boundary activity or a residential activity unless they were non-complying activities, and you cannot appeal a subdivision decision unless it was a non-complying activity.
On their own, the recent RMA restrictions to appeal rights might not seem significant. But when you view them along with the restrictions on notification we discussed in our Notification blog (i.e. who can have a say on the activity in the first place), it feels as though there is a general theme of removing the community voice from these processes.
What do you think? Is restricting resource consent appeals good (saves time), or not so good (no second opinions)?
Deb Kissick is a resource management policy planner who likes to figure out How Things Work.