Survey backs Resource Management Act reforms

  • Amy Adams

Environment Minister Amy Adams says a survey that shows thousands of businesses are feeling constrained by the Resource Management Act demonstrates why the Government’s reforms are badly needed.

Statistics New Zealand’s Business Operations Survey released today shows that RMA processes are having a significant effect on business performance.

According to the survey, businesses have blamed the RMA process for the cancellation of projects potentially worth more than $800 million over the last two financial years.

The uncertainty of the process had led to the cancellation of about two thirds of these projects.

The survey also shows:

  • Only 3 per cent of businesses said current RMA processes enhanced their business
  • 430 businesses cancelled projects each worth more than $100,000 due to RMA processes
  • Some businesses have spent up to 25 per cent of their total expenditure on applying for resource consents
  • More than half of resource consent applications are cancelled in the pre-application stage, mainly due to uncertainty and time delays
  • The vast majority of businesses feeling constrained by the RMA are small and medium enterprises

Ms Adams says the survey confirms what she had heard from businesses and communities during a series of RMA consultation meetings throughout the country.

“Frustration with the RMA was rife at these meetings. In most cases, the frustration was not about whether a particular project could or could not proceed, it was about the time and cost to reach that decision.

“There is too much uncertainty in the outcome of the process, and the impact of this is real - potential new jobs are not being created and communities are missing out on economic benefits.”

The Government’s proposed reforms would make the RMA system easier to use, increase certainty and predictability, attract investment, and reduce unnecessary duplication and cost, whilst continuing to protect the environment.

“Fundamentally, the proposed reforms are about providing greater confidence for businesses to grow and create jobs, greater certainty for communities to plan for local needs, and stronger environmental outcomes as our communities grow and change.”