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Sustainability Forum Presentation by Associate Professor Kenneth Palmer Law School University of Auckland 11 December 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainability Forum Presentation by Associate Professor Kenneth Palmer Law School University of Auckland 11 December 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainability Forum Presentation by Associate Professor Kenneth Palmer Law School University of Auckland 11 December 2014

2 The Resource Management Act: The Potential Future of Our Environment Will the proposed changes to the RMA continue to protect our environment? Potential impacts compared to original intentions of the RMA The past informs the future

3 Resource Management Act 1991 Sustainable management purpose s 5 Sustainable management interpretation focus Matters of national importance s 6 Other matters s 7 Balance between promoting development and conservation

4 RMA – Early Problems Initial absence of national policy statements Lack of national environmental standards NZ coastal policy statement guidance 1994 revised NZCPS 2010 First NES air quality 2004 NES drinking water sources; telecommunications; electricity transmission; contaminants in soil NPS 2008 electricity transmission; renewable electricty generation; freshwater 2011, 2014

5 unique braided river system

6 RMA Progression Project Aqua – Waitaki Hydro – 2004 Water Allocation Plan precedent Aquaculture authorisations AMA proposals 2004, 2011 amendments Maori aquaculture settlement (20%) 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004; Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 RM Amd 2005 – call in powers extended; minister’s power of direction

7 RM Amendments 2009, 2013 – Procedural Reforms focus RMA – streamlining endeavours RM (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009 – revision of notification rules, council procedures – and rules of interim effect – amendments not simplifying procedures RM Amendments 2013 – expansion of s 32 analysis – more focus on economic impacts and employment consequences – cautionary principle maintained – procedure for plan approval panel for the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan

8 Environmental Protection Authority Environmental Protection Authority Act 2011 – rationalisation of MFE functions to EPA Climate change administration – HSNO administration Call-in power oversight on behalf of the Minister Allocation of off shore regulation to EPA Mixed bag outcome. Cf Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment



11 Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Enviromental Effects) Act 2012 Administration function vested in EPA Approval procedures outside RMA regulation Hearing by EPA panel in place of Environment Court Environment Court retaining enforcement jurisdiction South Taranaki Iron Sands application 2014 refusal! Government promotion of deep sea exploration not assuring marine consent approval – Chatham islands phosphate… Further issue of mineral prospecting concessions - continuing Green Party and iwi opposition


13 Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 Removes Crown ownership of coastal marine area Opens door for iwi claims to (i) customary marine title and (ii) protected customary rights interests Approval process either transparent High Court application or closed door negotiation with the Minister Recognised customary interests exempt from plan control and resource consent obligations – deemed permitted activities Customary title holder has rights to minerals (other than Crown minerals) Major claims likely within the next 5 years Conflicts between competing iwi likely Consider potential claims to Waitemata and Manukau harbours Development in customary marine title areas subject to iwi approval – potential for joint ventures

14 To create the world’s most livable city –Cohesive, resilient communities –An excellent transport system –A productive, high-value economy –Quality urban, rural and natural environments (eco- city) The Mayor’s vision and strategy


16 Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan 2013 Submissions and further submissions raising 9,000 planning issues Question of level playing fields as to financing of submissions, time allocations and weight of submissions. Hearings Panel process PAUP a highly complex document. Multiple zones and plan overlays increasing complexity Question whether all overlays necessary or justified Heavy reliance on precautionary approach to justify new parts eg “Sites and Places of Value to Mana Whenua” (3,600 sites listed) Question of balance, and lack of research to validate many restrictions in plan Whether misuse of planning process by transferring burden of rebuttng or establishing SM compliance on property owners Certain provisions having interim legal effect raising issues of fairness (eg heritage, mana whenua listings) – need to harmonise heritage processes with Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga Act 2014


18 Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 Government answer to housing affordability issues primarily in Auckland – special housing area gazetting HASHAA bypasses normal RMA aproval processes PAUP policy and rules applied as a priority to SHA applications Presumption against notification Limitation on appeal rights to housing developments 4 storeys or higher Fast-track procedures an undoubted success Reduction in costs and delay risks to property developers Whether price of new houses will be reduced highly debatable Policy to require proportion of affordable housing (5-10%) - making minimal impact on affordable housing solutions

19 RMA Reforms (1) - Part 2 Source: RM Summary of Reform Proposals 2013 (MFE August 2013) Strongly supported by former Minister Amy Adams. Ss 6, 7 revision S 6 “Principles” – ‘in making the overall broad judgment under s 5’, matters of national importance to include “the effective functioning of the built environment, including the availability of land to support changes in population and urban development demand”, and “the efficient provision of infrastructure” new Minister Hon Nick Smith reconsidering s 6 proposals - alternative to produce new NPS covering urban development LGA Amd Act 2014, s 101B requiring 30 yr infrastructure strategy Changes to ss 6, 7, largely bypassed by Housing Accord legislation EDS v NZ King Salmon Co (2014)(SC) - “shall give effect to” NZCPS (and NPS) overriding ‘overall broad judgment’ in plan content Sustain Our Sounds Inc v NZ King Salmon Co (2014) – precautionary approach under s 32 may be adjusted by ‘adaptive management’


21 RMA Reforms (2) – Other Proposals From RM Summary of Reform Proposals 2013 (MfE) National planning templates – comment: need for this 20 years too late. Cf PAUP style Single plan obligation for region and district plans under a joint plan process. Query need Freshwater management plans to follow new collaborative planning process recommended by land and water forum (excludes Environment Court appeals) Default provision for independent panel to make ruling. Compare PAUP Panel structure

22 RMA Reforms (3) Maori participation: proposals to provide for greater clarity and role for iwi and hapu in the planning process Compare Auckland experience with Maori Statutory Board potential for participation may extend to greater demands for joint management with iwi and hapu Improving resource consent processes. Proposed fast-track process (10 day) for minor consents Improving appeals process to Environment Court. New compulsory mediation powers Clearer presumption in favour of non-notification of all subdivision consent applications


24 Overview of Proposed Reforms: Briefing to incoming Ministers 2014 “Environmental stewardship for a prosperous New Zealand” (MFE 2014) 45 page report comprising a mild overview of MFE functions and concerns Acknowledgment of Environmental Reporting Bill 2014 to improve reporting and statistical information for public use Briefing endorses proposals to improve RM procedures and possibly supporting implementation of some of the 2013 recommendations Supports climate change mitigation. Supports Waste management action Supports NPS for Freshwater 2014 and the national objectives framework Implicit support for more dairy farm development and land productivity Greater recognition of natural hazards. Support for Canterbury recovery General wish list awaiting specific direction from new Minister Prediction that further changes to promote “sustainability” will be incremental and not of major or radical significance

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