Update from the President

Tēnā koutou katoa

Firstly, congratulations to Peter Bevan as RMLA’s scholarship winner this year.  I’m proud that RMLA promotes environmental law and policy education in this manner and I look forward to Peter’s contribution to our publications.

The year is moving at pace. It is hard to believe it’s Poutūterangi (March) already. Minister David Parker is talking about the Government’s momentum and ambition to do more. With the breadth of changes being considered, the year will continue to be full of activity as RMLA works to ensure all resource management practitioners have an opportunity to contribute to proposals as they arise.

The MfE’s release of its most comprehensive report on the state of New Zealand’s environment is expected on 18 April. The report will bring together domain reports and add more detail. No doubt this report will highlight the impact of activities on the environment, provide data to be used in RMA hearings, and add to the debate about the systems we use to manage our impact on New Zealand’s built and natural environment.

The Tax Working Group released its final report last week. The group recommends using tax as a behavioural tool to discourage negative environmental externalities, and in the longer term, using environmental tax revenue to help fund a transition to a more sustainable economy.  This signals more work be done in this area. Immediate changes for the Government’s consideration include ensuring all emissions face a price, using congestion charging more; expanding the coverage and rate of the Waste Disposal Levy.

In my view changes to the Waste Disposal Levy are likely to happen quickly because an initial increase is potentially palatable to the public. It’s also consistent with the Government’s preparatory work on addressing waste, including plastic.

Around the world we’re seeing countries actively recognise the importance of a “circular economy”, and this term is likely to be heard more in New Zealand.

Essentially the circular economy involves “gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:  design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; regenerate natural systems”.

Practitioners who aren’t familiar with the term should have a look at the Ellen McArthur Foundation website here

Your feedback on regulatory proposals is welcomed so we can effectively engage as an association on behalf of all resource management practitioners.

Please contact me, any National Committee or Regional Branch Committee member, Young RMLA leaders, or reach out to relevant KnowledgeHub leaders here or contribute to the debate through any of our publications here

Noho ora mai