Message from the RMLA President – April 06

Tēna koutou

Those of you who attended the presentation from Minister Parker will have heard his focus on climate change, water and urban development.  The Minister said it was time for New Zealand to return to be a world leader in climate change. Although he recommended the final Havelock North report on water quality as important reading for practitioners, he didn’t comment on which recommendations he would adopt although he signalled a more comprehensive National Policy Statement on water management (including responsiveness to land intensification) as an important part of that response.

On the Government’s urban growth agenda Minister Parker referred to resilience, protection of elite and versatile soils and support for a circular economy.  While he is keen to reverse the worst of the 2017 changes to the RMA (particularly the restriction on appeal rights for subdivision) and wanted to speed up time to make plans operative, the Minister said he wasn’t convinced that the RMA needed an overhaul and will be promulgating Planning Standards initiated by the 2017 reforms.

For many years the Association has made submissions to the Government about the importance of access to justice and the benefits of a specialist Environment Court. It was therefore particularly pleasing to hear the Minister repeatedly state that he is a big supporter of the Environment Court and is even considering expanding its role into other areas.

The middle 12 months of a Government’s term are often the busiest.  With this Government’s focus on environmental improvements, the Association will be carefully examining the many new proposals on their way.  Our upcoming renewal of our “special interest groups” intends to identify leaders in specialist areas who can provide insights on many of these tasks – so watch out for these impending changes.  We also have obtained extra support on the National Committee by the co-option of three extra members:  Sheena Tepania, Alan Webb and Ben Farrell.  I’m delighted they’re willing to serve our community of resource management practitioners.  Please welcome them in those roles.

One of our significant milestones in the RMLA’s calendar is our conference, held this year 20-22 September, in Wellington.  It is an opportunity to gather together and share knowledge.  Our theme this year is Reform or Transform and we’re set to have some great debates about the direction and magnitude of change.  While it seems a while away, now is the time for your organisation to lock in exciting sponsorship opportunities for this conference.  Please contact me or Karol Helmink with your interest while there are spaces available.

Ngā mihi

Rachel Devine

President – RMLA