Government launches consultation on suite of environmental reforms

Public meetings will be held in more than 20 places over the next three weeks, to provide information and seek feedback on reforms to the way we manage our freshwater, elite soils, urban environment, waste and hazardous substances.

Public meetings/hui start today that give New Zealanders a chance to have their say on the biggest programme of action to protect our environment since the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991,” Environment Minister David Parker said. 

There is a widely held view that central government has not provided enough national guidance under the RMA. These changes address that. 

 “We are delivering on our promise at the last election. The state of our rivers, lakes and wetlands are a top concern for New Zealanders. They want us to take action to stop the degradation and restore the health of our waterways. 

“We need to start now. If we don’t, it will take longer, cost more and be harder to fix,” David Parker said. 

“This is a big agenda, which includes a major review of the Resource Management Act.” 

He said the Government is working across numerous portfolios to protect and improve our environment, transition New Zealand to a low emissions future and ensure the economy thrives within environmental limits, while enhancing New Zealanders’ wellbeing. 

“We are also reducing waste, better managing hazardous substances, planning for successful cities and valuing our most highly productive.   

“Because the freshwater proposals released last week, in particular, have the potential to have a significant impact in some areas, I am appointing an Independent Advisory Panel to consider the submissions we receive on this topic.” 

The Panel is chaired by retired Principal Environment Court Judge David Sheppard. 

“Judge Sheppard chaired a Board of Inquiry in 2008 on proposals to develop a National Policy Statement on Freshwater that National later spiked. We have been paying the price for the mistake made by the previous government,” David Parker said. 

The other members of the Advisory panel are:

Andrew Fenemor, who is a Senior Scientist in hydrology and water management at Landcare Research in Nelson, and has experience as an RMA Hearing Commissioner.  

Antoine Coffin, who is the Director of Te Onewa Consultants. He is an accredited Commissioner, specialising in freshwater, wastewater, heritage and planning and is experienced in iwi governance and decision-making. 

Tracy Brown, who is a trained agricultural economist and has been dairy farming for 25 years. She has had a range of community, regional and national roles leading environmental change in the dairy sector, including as Chair of the Dairy Environment Leaders Forum. 

Maree Baker-Galloway, who is a partner at Anderson Lloyd specialising in environmental and planning law, specifically the Resource Management Act. She was President of the Resource Management Law Association from 2015 to 2017. 

Submissions on the freshwater proposals close on October 17. 

Resource Management Review Panel announced 

David Parker has also announced the Resource Management Review Panel for the comprehensive review of the RMA that he announced in July. 

The Chair, Hon Tony Randerson QC, will be joined by:

Amelia Linzey, who is a leading resource management planner and the Senior Technical Director of the planning team at engineering and planning consultancy Beca. 

Dean Kimpton, who has been the Chief Operating Officer at Auckland Council and Managing Director at engineering and planning consultancy AECOM. 

Kevin Prime MBE ONZM, who is a Commissioner with the Environment Court as well as a farmer, forester, and conservationist in Northland. 

Rachel Brooking, who is a Senior Associate of law firm Anderson Lloyd specialising in environmental and local government legislation.  

Raewyn Peart MNZM, who has significance experience in environmental law and is currently the Policy Director at the Environmental Defence Society.   

“The members are high-calibre experts in planning, environmental management, resource management law, te ao Māori, local government and infrastructure development,” David Parker said.  

Their appointments are in place until 30 June 2020. 

Details of the consultation meetings, discussion documents and information on all the consultations are available on the MfE website: https://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/consultations