Resource Legislation Amendment Act now fully in play

The Ministry for the Environment has announced that a range of changes to the RMA and Conservation Act, made through the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017, are in force as of Wednesday 18 October 2017.

Some changes came into force immediately after the Bill was passed into law in April this year. However, a number of other changes had a delayed commencement, to allow councils and others to update their systems and processes.

The changes in force as of Wednesday include:

Changes to resource consent processes, including:

  • a new step-by-step process to decide whether or not to notify consents:

– a 10-day fast track process for controlled district land-use activities
– clarification of consideration of environmental offsetting and compensation in consents and designation
– clarification of what resource consent conditions can address
– stronger consideration of natural hazards in subdivision consents

  • new provisions to issue notices for certain activities to be ‘deemed permitted’, rather than needing a resource consent – for boundary rule infringements with relevant neighbour’s approval, and marginal or temporary rule breaches (at the consent authority’s discretion)
  • changes to the submission strike out provisions in section 41D
  • preclusions on appeals for some types of consents, targeted at speeding up subdivision and housing-related activities
  • greater use of the internet to issue public notices and email to serve documents in RMA processes
  • better alignment of concessions under the Conservation Act with resource consent processes for councils that are to meet the two-year timeframe, councils must apply to the Minister for the Environment for an extension.

MfE has prepared a series of information sheets which contain general information to help community groups, businesses and members of the public understand and apply RMA processes, including:

  1. Information for applicants: Resource consents
  2. Information for affected persons: Written approvals (covers both resource consents and boundary activities)
  3. Information for submitters: Preparing a submission on a notified consent
  4. Information for applicants and submitters: Notified resource consents
  5. Information for applicants: Deemed permitted boundary activities

Information about the range of changes can be found on the MfE website.

The changes do not affect ongoing statutory processes that were initiated before commencement of these changes; see the transitional and savings provisions set out in clause 12 of Schedule 12 of the RMA for details.