Feedback sought on Direct Referral Proposed Regulations – Discussion Document

The RMLA is preparing a submission on the discussion document recently released by the Ministry for the Environment on setting a direct referral threshold.  Currently consent authorities have full discretion on whether or not to grant a direct referral request.  Section 87E(6A) of the RMA provides that regulations can be made to require a consent authority to grant a request for direct referral if the value of the investment is likely to meet or exceed a threshold prescribed by regulations, with the exception that the consent authority may still decline a request for direct referral if special circumstances exist (having regard to matters listed in the regulations).

The discussion document seeks feedback on what should be provided in the regulations, including:

– What approach should be applied in measuring the investment threshold (including capital investment value, economic impact analysis, or net present value assessment)?

–  Should a single threshold amount apply, or should it vary across regions or sectors?

– How high or low should the threshold be set?

– What matters should be listed in the regulations that a consent authority must have regard to in considering if special circumstances exist?

RMLA members wishing to put forward their views on the discussion document for inclusion in the RMLA submission are encouraged to do so.  In particular, it would assist to have your views on the matters to be considered by a consent authority to determine if special circumstances exist that would allow a consent authority to refuse a direct referral application. 

More information and a copy of the discussion document can be viewed here:


It would assist if members could set their comments out in the following way:

– Specific issue: identify the topic;

– Submission: state support for or concerns with the options, and/or respond to the questions in the discussion document;

– Relief sought: confirm the matter to be addressed in the regulations.

Repeat the same pattern for each topic that you consider the RMLA should comment on.

When commenting on the discussion document you should bear in mind that the RMLA’s prime objective in making a submission is to ensure that a coherent and practicable body of resource management and environmental law and practice is developed in New Zealand.  As a result it is not the RMLA’s practice to make submissions in opposition.  Instead, submissions should focus on what form the regulations should take to ensure that they will:

– Be consistent with the general framework of existing laws and policies;

– That it will be practicable and workable;

– That it will assist in promoting best practice.

We look forward to receiving your feedback by Friday 23 May  – your contributions will be important in assisting the RMLA to formulate its submission on the discussion document.  Submissions are due by 30 May 2014.

All feedback to karol.helmink@rmla.org.nz by Friday 23 May.  Thank you.