The Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (Act) received Royal Assent on 3 September 2013. Provisions of the Act will commence at different times calculated by reference to the date of assent.
In our legal update in June 2013, we referred to the draft legislation as an omnibus bill that proposed amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010, and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
A supplementary order paper split the draft legislation into three Bills, all of which were passed into law in August 2013:
- The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013
- The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Act 2013
- The Resource Management Amendment Act 2013
In particular, the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013 assists with the delivery of Auckland’s unitary plan, as opposed to the Act.
The significant amendments are outlined below. This overview is derived from the Act and fact sheets by the Ministry for the Environment.
Changes to the resource consent process
The amendments set out the information required in applications for resource consent lodged with Council. The new information requirements are set out in schedule 4 of the Act which requires specific information for all applications and, for particular types of applications, certain additional information.
This information is in addition to an assessment of the effects on the environment, and such assessment is also provided for in schedule 4.
Six month processing of notified consent applications
Notified applications must be processed in 130 working days and limited notified applications must be processed by council in 100 working days. The timeframe comprises:
- 20 working days to notify
- 20 working days for submissions
- 75 working days for notified applications and 45 working days for limited notified applications from the close of submissions to complete hearing
- 15 working days for commissioners to prepare written decisions
Advantageously, the processing clock may stop once during the first 20 working days from lodgement, upon a request for further information from Council. Council may, however, request further information on numerous occasions, but the clock may stop only once.
Direct Referrals to the Environment Court
Section 87D of the RMA allows an applicant to make a request that a Council allow a notified resource consent application, notice of requirement or heritage order application to be decided by the Environment Court rather than Council.
The Act introduces new provisions which reduce the discretion that Council enjoyed under the RMA in allowing application(s) to go directly to the Environment Court. For example, s 87E of the Act requires a Council to allow an application to go directly to the Environment Court if the value of the investment in the proposal is likely to meet or exceed a threshold amount which will be prescribed by regulations.
Section 32 evaluation reports
As foreshadowed in our update in June 2013, new ss 32 and s 32AA of the Act set out, respectively, the requirements for preparing and publishing evaluation reports and requirements for undertaking and publishing further evaluations. The sections were largely unchanged when the Resource Management Reform Bill was passed as law.
If you would like further information on any issue raised in this update please contact:
Brian Joyce, Principal
DDI: +64 9 377 8419
Krystle Gardner, Solicitor
DDI: +64 9 965 2662
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This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek further information before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.