Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has welcomed the announcement of a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act (RMA) and is encouraging the government to work collaboratively with the primary sector to ensure that any proposed changes to the RMA maintain public participation, robust processes, enhance quality outcomes, and take account of the wider social, economic, cultural, and environmental well-beings of rural communities.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s general manager policy and advocacy Dave Harrison says that while the RMA has some sound principles at its heart, decades of tinkering with it have left it being extremely complex and prone to litigation.
“The Resource Management Act has generally provided a robust process for communities to have their say on developments and changes impacting them, but continued alterations to the RMA have added layers of complexity which make it difficult to navigate. As a result, we have seen an increase in legal challenges as both developers and communities wade their way through it,” says Harrison.
“It’s important, however, that throughout this review that the baby isn’t thrown out with the bathwater, and that the fundamentals of community participation and clearly defined processes and requirements are balanced against the need for cost-effective resource consent processes that provide certainty.”
B+LNZ is also encouraging the government to work collaboratively with the primary sector during the RMA review, as many of the items raised in the Cabinet Paper could create unintended outcomes that adversely impact the well-being of rural communities.
“With issues around freshwater and climate change highlighted in the Cabinet Paper on the RMA review, it’s crucial that where the review looks at these it also works with the primary sector to help it consider the wider well-beings of rural communities to avoid unintended and adverse outcomes for those communities.
“For example, where the Cabinet Paper talks about assisting land-use change to achieve ‘highest value uses’, that value needs to take into account the impacts of land-use change on the economic, social, cultural, and environmental well-beings of communities who may be impacted.”