Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Environment and spatial planning Acts repealed

Parliament has today passed legislation repealing the Natural and Built Environment Act and the Spatial Planning Act as part of the Government’s 100-day plan.

“National campaigned on repealing the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA) and the Spatial Planning Act (SPA) by Christmas, and this commitment is also reflected in the coalition documents. Today we have made good on that commitment,” said RMA Reform Minister, Chris Bishop.

“The decision to repeal the NBA and SPA was forced on us by the previous Labour Government whose reforms were somehow as long and complicated as the legislation they were replacing. Thousands of submissions said the NBA and SPA wouldn’t work but the last Government wouldn’t listen.”

The previous Labour Government claimed the NBA would simplify planning rules, but the 900-page document introduced significant new legal complexity and uncertainty, Mr Bishop said.

“Many submitters to the select committee in the last Parliament said it would make it harder to consent renewable electricity generation and other infrastructure.”

“The Bill passed today is the start of a new package of resource management legislation that will protect the environment and make it easier to get things done in New Zealand,” he said. 

While the repeal signals a reversion to the RMA 1991, the Government will:

  1. Retain fast-track consenting provisions for now in advance of a separate bill to be introduced later in the 100-day period; and 
  2. Ensure Treaty settlements are upheld.

“In the second phase of the reform, the Government will amend the RMA to make it easier to consent new infrastructure including renewable energy, allow farmers to farm, build more houses, and enable aquaculture and other primary industries.”

“The third phase of the reform will replace the RMA with new resource management laws based on the enjoyment of property rights, while ensuring good environmental outcomes,” the Minister said.

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