Efficiency incentives proposed for RMA

  • Nick Smith
Environment

The Government is determined to improve the processing of resource consents and will introduce incentives to ensure this occurs from 1 July 2010, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

Dr Smith today released details of the regulations for consultation.

"Last year's report on resource consent processing identified that 31% of resource consents were processed late and another 28% involved an extension of time," Dr Smith said. "The report also identified that this problem had got progressively worse over the last decade.

"This new policy of a financial penalty on councils for late consent processing is designed to reverse this trend and get councils focused on providing a timely service."

The discount regulations suggested approach is that councils must provide a discount of 25% for a consent one week late, with an additional 5% per week up to a maximum of 80%. The regulations also set out procedures for determining fault, and definitions to ensure the incentives are workable.

"It has long been councils' policy that a penalty is loaded on ratepayers for failing to pay rates on time. If it's good enough for the goose; it's good enough for the gander. This new policy applies the same principle where the council fails to meet statutory timeframes.

"These regulations will set the minimum discount for lateness but councils will have the option of developing their own tougher regime if they wish. For instance, some councils already offer a free consent if late (i.e. a 100% discount) and will be able to continue to do so.

"This new policy is about recognising that time is money. New Zealand's economic recovery cannot be held back by inefficient and costly red tape.

"The Government is seeking feedback on the details of these regulations and will then work to have them in place by 1 July this year."

For more information, go to http://www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/central/regulations.html