RMLA President’s Report : June 2016

Just as some of the RMLA community come up for air as work associated with the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and Christchurch City Plan peters off for a bit, the government has released the draft National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity for submissions, with the aim of having it finalised and taking legal effect by October. If it comes into effect resembling the draft, this will herald a new era of enforced cooperation between regional councils and territorial authorities that have high and medium growth urban areas in their jurisdiction.

As the Select Committee and Ministry officials grapple with the views expressed in over 700 submissions on the Resource Legislation Bill, including a very detailed submission from RMLA, an extension has been given to the reporting date now set for early September.

So who knows, by the time we all gather in Nelson for our annual conference, there could be some very strong indicators of new directions RM law and policy is heading, for us to learn about and debate in the context of the theme “OUTstanding”. Will these reforms make a material difference to addressing the challenges still on our plate? Will they enable cutting edge solutions? Will they protect those special things that New Zealanders hold dear? I hope you come to Nelson and help us find out.

Our community continues to produce stand out individuals, doing really valuable work. Now is the chance again to recognise these people who go above and beyond the call of duty, both at an individual level, and in collaboration with others. If you know of or have been part of efforts and projects that deserve recognition, please take a moment to put in a nomination to the RMLA awards – it’s always nice to be recognised for your hard work by your peers! And on the note of impressive individuals, a special congratulations to our founding member and past President Derek Nolan for appointment as a QC.

The hard work and improvement in practice and procedure of the Environment Court is set out in detail in the Principal Environment Judge Newhook’s 2015 Annual Review. If you are interested in better understanding what the Court has been up to on a national basis, and the various initiatives being worked on to improve the Court’s effectiveness, I recommend you have a read.

Remember to book out your calendar for the 2nd memorial lecture in the RMLA calendar, the Salmon Lecture 2016 in Auckland being given by Rachel de Lambert on 21 July. This along with the annual Tony Hearn QC Memorial Lecture are an excellent chance for RMA practitioners from around the country to get together for a night of thought provoking speeches, networking and sharing a meal together. I look forward to seeing you there.

Last but not least, thank you to the various people who’s hard work keeps RMLA ticking, from regional committees, to road show speakers, to the tireless efforts of Karol Helmink and Rikki Stanich as they guide us through a very exciting year in RMLA’s evolution – come to the conference for the big reveal of what will be a new and very improved and stylish delivery of services to the RMLA community!

Ngá mihi

Maree Baker-Galloway