Environment & Resource Management

2020 certainly isn’t the year we thought it would be and the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 (the Act) definitely wasn’t on the Government’s legislative agenda back in January. The Act was passed under urgency and is part of the government’s economic response to Covid-19, promoting development as a way to stimulate the economy. 

The brand new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPSFM20) came into force on 3 September 2020, replacing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPSFM14). The new statement forms part of the Government’s overhaul of the freshwater planning framework and introduces a slew of changes to the way regional councils are required to manage freshwater resources in the future.

The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (“the NES:F”) came into effect on 3 September 2020 as part of the Government’s wider “Action for Healthy Waterways” package (which also includes the new Freshwater Planning Process contained in the Resource Management Amendment Act 2020, the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and Stock Exclusion Regulations).  This article provides a short summary of the provisions in the NES:F.

The RMAA came into force on 1 July 2020 and introduces some significant changes, particularly for the freshwater planning process. 

2020 has seen significant changes for the resource management framework in New Zealand, with more substantial changes on the horizon.

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Bill aims to bypass the Resource Management Act 1991 in order to speed up the consenting process for projects.

The Bill would amend the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 - its purpose to reduce complexity, increase certainty, and reinstate public participation opportunities.

The Ministry for the Environment has released the Resource Management Review Panel’s issues and options paper.

The Panel seeks comments on the paper and proposes 44 specific questions to answer. It welcomes submissions until Monday 3 February 2020.
https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/RMA/comprehensive-review-of-the-resource-management-system-opportunities-for-change-issues-and-options-paper.pdf

On 4 November 2019 the Court of Appeal concluded in a controversial decision that regional councils can use the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to control fishing in the coastal marine area.

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the Canterbury Regional Council’s appeal of the High Court’s decision on how to find the “bed” of a river under the Resource Management Act 1991.

On 5 September 2019 the Government released the long-awaited package of freshwater reforms. The Action for Healthy Waterways package seeks to stop the degradation of New Zealand waterways and restore them to a healthy state. 

The official closing date for submissions is Thursday 17 October 2019 at 5pm. However, submissions will be accepted for a further two weeks beyond that date, until 31 October 2019.

The Government released its proposals for freshwater management reform on 5 September 2019, including a consultation draft of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.  

The official closing date for submissions is Thursday 17 October 2019 at 5pm. However, submissions will be accepted for a further two weeks beyond that date, until 31 October 2019.