Draft National Planning Standards aim to make plans easier to prepare and to use

Plans that are easier to use and prepare under the Resource Management Act (RMA) have taken a step closer with the release of the first set of draft National Planning Standards.

“The aim is to make plans simpler and more efficient to prepare, and easier to understand and comply with,” Environment Minister David Parker said.

“Standardising plan format and definitions is long overdue. It will reduce compliance costs, and address some of the justified criticisms by those who find RMA plans unduly complex,” he said.

“The standards will not determine local policy matters or the substantive content of plans, which remain the responsibilities of local councils and communities.”  

David Parker said National Planning Standards will improve how the RMA operates and reduce costs to both councils and plan users.

“They will also improve internet access to planning documents for the public.”

The Ministry for the Environment will seek formal submissions on the draft standards from the general public, councils, professionals and iwi over a 10 week period that will include a nationwide meetings.

Once public consultations are complete, the final standards will be approved in April 2019.

“To implement the standards councils will have to redraft their plans. We are proposing a five year implementation period for most plans and a seven year period for councils that have recently concluded a major plan process. This allows the standardisation to occur as plans are routinely reviewed,” David Parker said.

“The cost of updating plans to meet the standards will be vastly exceeded by the cost savings to those who use them.”

For more information about the draft first set of National Planning Standards, and to make a submission, visit: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/draft-national-planning-standards.

The closing date for submissions is August 17.