Upton Welcomes Wellington City Council's RMA Response

  • Simon Upton

"Wellington City Council's promise to pay up if it can't meet deadlines for handling resource consent applications is exactly the kind of response the Government had been hoping for," Simon Upton, Minister for the Environment said today.

As the Evening Post reported, the Council's new policy followed the Ministry for the Environment's figures in the Annual Survey of Local Authorities which placed WCC's planners among the slowest in the country.

Mr Upton said, "I'm greatly encouraged by Wellington City Council's swift response to this wake-up call - they are determined to hit their performance targets and will offer a 30% refund on delayed applications. I'd urge other councils to pick up the challenge".

When the Minister launched the Annual survey in June he said, "it provides a well-researched platform on which councils can benchmark their performance compared with others in New Zealand. While I accept statistics can be misleading, I'd expect these surveys to set some councillors and council staff thinking about whether they are performing as well as they could".

"It clearly got the Wellington City Council staff thinking," Mr Upton said today. "If every council could match the best performance recounted by these studies - or put themselves under pressure to improve as the WCC has - we could see very significant savings in time and money".

The survey, studies and guideline launched today all fit into a wider and on-going work program by the Ministry for the Environment aimed at improving the operation of the Resource Management Act. The work programme embraces training, case studies, the development of practice guidelines as well as amendments to the legislation aimed at improving the efficiency of processes.