EDS has prepared a submission on the exposure draft of the new Natural and Built Environments Bill, including detailed drafting changes, and is seeking feedback from the public before it is lodged.
The Bill will replace the Resource Management Act, but all of its provisions have not yet been drafted. Instead, only the front end of the legislation – including key provisions relating to its purpose, principles and planning instruments – are included in this exposure draft. In a novel process, the Environment Select Committee is considering submissions on those provisions now, before the whole Bill is introduced into the House alongside the proposed Strategic Planning Bill and the Climate Change Adaptation Bill early next year.
“From what we can see of the Natural and Built Environments Bill, it is a good start for a piece of law that is intended to be quite different to the RMA,” said Dr Greg Severinsen, the senior policy advisor who has been the lead researcher for EDS’s resource management reform work.
“However, significant amendment is still required on a number of fronts. Fortunately, that is still achievable within the basic framework that has been outlined in the Bill.
“The most important provisions are contained in four key areas: the Bill’s purpose, its provisions on setting environmental limits, sections on environmental outcomes, and a framework for national direction and plans. All of these things need refinement. In particular:
“In our submission we have outlined in detail the key changes we think are needed. The time for general policy talk has passed; we’re in the thick of specific drafting now, and even the smallest things matter when the wording comes to the courts for interpretation, as no doubt it will,” concluded Dr Severinsen.
“For a long time, EDS and others have been calling for the RMA to be replaced” said Gary Taylor, CEO of EDS.
“It is not performing for the environment, for urban areas, or for developers. To that end, we undertook a multi-year project looking at how we might overhaul the system.
A lot of ideas in that work, and those developed through the government’s independent panel chaired by Hon Tony Randerson QC, have been picked up and run with in policy development, and are reflected in this Bill. However, the devil is in the drafting detail, and a lot of improvement still needs to be made.
“We’re publishing our draft for comment before submissions close, so we can refine it further. We encourage people to have a look and let us know what they think”, Mr Taylor concluded.
Submissions are due with the Select Committee on August 4. The draft EDS submission can be found here, and comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org before 31 July