New national direction provides clarity for development and the environment


The Government has taken an important step in implementing the new resource management system, by issuing a draft National Planning Framework (NPF) document under the new legislation, Environment Minister David Parker said today.

“The NPF consolidates existing national direction, bringing together around 20 existing instruments including policy statements, standards, and other regulations.

“Importantly, the NPF includes a new chapter on infrastructure. This major piece of work was led by the Infrastructure Commission. It includes the creation of standards for activities like sediment control, and it enables more permitted activities, leading to fewer costly consents.

“Preparing the NPF has been a major piece of work. I thank all those involved in doing it, including the Infrastructure Commission.

“This first, or transitional, NPF will particularly focus on supporting development of the new regional spatial strategies.

“Local government is the key implementer of the NPF. There are also obligations under Treaty settlements, agreed by successive governments, that need to be carried forward from under the Resource Management Act. Accordingly, I have now released a draft NPF for initial engagement with local government and Māori groups.

“The draft NPF will then form the basis of a public consultation in early 2024, led by an independent board of inquiry to be chaired by former Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook.

“There would be no obligation on an incoming government to continue the board of inquiry process if it repeals the Natural and Built Environment Act and reverts to the RMA, which National criticised for many years.”

David Parker said the Government is also acting on another requirement of the new legislation, by initiating the establishment of a Freshwater Working Group to provide a report on water allocation issues.

“This responds to the Crown’s obligation to address water allocation, and is consistent with undertakings given to the Supreme Court a decade ago, before the current government took office.

“The working group is required by law to report back by 31 October 2024 – this is a tight deadline, so work needs to get under way.

“Again, an incoming government could reverse this work by changing the law,” David Parker said.

The draft NPF is here.