Resource Management Act reforms – Have your say!

As a supporter of heritage, we appreciate that you may be interested in the opportunity to shape the future of how we plan our places in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through participation in the submission process, reform as significant as this lets you have your say on legislation that will directly impact heritage recognition, conservation, and protection.

A person in a blue jacket looks out over Auckland City.

The Government is repealing the Resource Management Act (1991) and enacting new laws to transform the way the environment, including heritage, is managed by developing three new pieces of legislation:

  • Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA) – the main replacement for the RMA, with the aim of protecting and restoring the environment while making development easier.
  • Strategic Planning Act (SPA) – aims to provide a strategic and long-term approach to how we plan for using land and the coastal marine area.
  • Climate Change Adaptation Act (CAA) – aims to address issues associated with managed retreat (introduced later).

The Ministry for the Environment’s announcement of the Bills for the NBA and SPA states that the reform is intended to bring about the following changes to the current resource management system:

  • Planning for positive outcomes, not just managing adverse effects.
  • A more effective role for Māori, one that gives effect to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • More integrated and strategic long-term planning for transport, infrastructure, housing, climate resilience and environmental protection.
  • A regional, collaborative approach to planning.
  • Effective partnering of central and local government and iwi/hapū/Māori in planning and delivery.
  • Stronger, more consistent national direction.
  • Moving to equitable and efficient resource allocation within limits.
  • Improved evidence, monitoring, and feedback.

You can read the NBE Bill here and the SP Bill here, with other key documents available on the Ministry for the Environment website.

But what about heritage?

Our team have been reviewing the proposed reforms and are preparing our submission. This will indicate that Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga:

  • Supports in principle the intention to reform the resource management process through the Natural and Built Environment and Spatial Planning Bills;
  • Considers these Bills contain welcome initiatives that have the potential to strengthen the conservation of cultural heritage;
  • Supports the stronger definition of cultural heritage in the Bills and considers that the Treaty/Tiriti clauses and increased role for Māori represents a significant improvement for cultural heritage in our resource management system; and
  • Welcomes, in principle, the introduction of an effects management framework and the new system for heritage protection orders, as well as the nationally consistent approach to regulating conservation of places of national importance.

Your voice is important – get involved!

We encourage you to make your own assessment of the proposed legislation, and to make a submission on those areas of interest or concern.

The Government is inviting submissions on the Bills to the Environment Select Committee, up to 11.59pm Sunday, 5 February 2023.

Submissions on the NBA may be made here and on the SPA here.