RMA Report Released: "Another Stage in an Open Review"

  • Simon Upton

The Minister for the Environment, Simon Upton, today released the Report of his Reference Group on the Resource Management Act.

Mr Upton said he had made the Report available to the public as soon as possible. "Its swift release is another stage in an open review process," he said. "For the last eight months, I have been listening to the concerns resource users have about the Act. I have tried to encourage an open debate".

The Report is in the nature of a set of working papers. It lists options, and in some cases makes recommendations, on how the Resource Management Act might be amended to improve procedures and reduce costs and time delays. Mr Upton said, "the Report covers a wide range of issues and view-points. It is not Government policy, but it will provide major input into the Government's thinking".

"In a keynote speech to the RMLA conference on Friday, 25 September, I will outline the Government's initial views. Then, in mid-October, formal proposals for amendments to the Act will be released. This will allow a focussed discussion of specific proposals before I introduce an Amendment Bill into the House early in 1999."

"It's a step by step process that allows considered public debate - which is entirely appropriate for the review of such an important statute", Mr Upton said.

"The Resource Management Act is New Zealand's key environmental statute. It touches the lives of all New Zealanders and protects our valued environment for future generations. As we look to make changes to improve efficiency of process it is important that we keep in mind the principles on which the Act is based and make sensible changes that will go hand in hand with improvement in practice," Mr Upton concluded.

Mr Upton established the Reference Group, chaired by Wellington lawyer Mike Holm, in late 1997 in order to get a broad base of advice from a group of practitioners who on a day to day basis face the myriad issues surrounding the interpretation and operation of the Resource Management Act.