RMLA President’s Report : Feb/March 2016

Kia ora Koutou

RM practitioners throughout New Zealand are no doubt feeling like they work in a very dynamic environment – change is afoot on many fronts.  There is consultation going on, or about to start, on a variety of statutory, regulatory and policy initiatives such that, no doubt, attention won’t be able to be given to all of them. For example: 

  • The government has asked the New Zealand Productivity Commissioner to look at ways of improving New Zealand’s urban planning framework. The ‘issues paper’ came out 9 December and submissions close 9 March. 
  • The consultation document ‘A New Marine Protected Areas Act’ proposes an overhaul to the suite of legislation (Marine Reserves Act, Fisheries Act, Wildlife Act etc) that make up the tools used for marine protection (out to 12 nautical miles). Consultation on this closes on 11 March. 
  • The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill proposed amendments to the RMA, Conservation Act, Reserves Act and Public Works Act – submissions are due on 14 March. 
  • The consultation document ‘Next Steps for Freshwater’ proposes a range of statutory, policy and other initiatives – submissions are due on 22 April. 
  • MfE is continuing to work on a draft NPS on Urban Development and to this end is pulling together a focus group. 

So if you have an opinion, make sure you share it. 

On a different note, congratulations to the 3 University of Otago Masters students who are this year’s recipients of the RMLA scholarships.  Hannah Parker-Hayne, Nathaniel Harris and Mandy Tocher are all planning students, so it’s great to see the next generation coming through with bright ideas to study and improve the way we do things, and I look forward to reading their work in our Resource Management Theory and Practice. 

Road shows and local events are cranking up and will be coming to a venue near you throughout the year.  Keep an eye out on our events page (http://rmla.org.nz/events). Planning continues for the national conference in Nelson, with a range of national and international speakers being confirmed to enlighten and challenge us on the ‘OUTstanding’ theme. 

The paper produced jointly by RMLA and NZPI in consultation with the Court on ‘The Role of the Planning Witness’ has been well received, and has provided guidance and clarification after a period where it there was some uncertainty over whether, and if so how, an expert planner should opine in evidence on the ‘ultimate issue’.  It is a must read: http://www.rmla.org.nz/news/view/id/173

Thanks again to all involved in the various work the RMLA is doing at the moment. There is a team writing our submission on the Bill, a team who judged the Scholarships, a team on the road shows and conference planning and those who put a lot of hours in the paper of the role of the planner.  Without all of you the RMLA would not be able to play the role it does. 

That’s all from me for now. You all need to get back to writing submissions if you somehow have time in the midst of your ‘day jobs’ to ensure the next round of reforms and initiatives are an improvement. 

Nga mihi, na 

Maree Baker-Galloway