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Reform of the Resource Management System Synthesis Report: Summary of Proposals

By Greg Severinsen
December 2019

This synthesis report part of a larger project looks at the different legislative frameworks that could form the core of a future system.

It starts with the Resource Management Act – whether or not it should be split, how its purpose and principles could be approached differently, and how central and local government planning and processes could be revised. It proposes keeping an integrated RMA – with significant changes and perhaps even renamed – at the heart of a future system that protects the environment and supports wellbeing.

But the RMA isn’t everything. The report also explores reforming oceans management, embedding climate change considerations in the system, and changes to urban and infrastructure development. It also proposes of an overarching piece of legislation under which we would deploy strategic and spatial planning. That would be crucial to manage urban growth pressures.

Furthermore, we emphasise that reform needs to look beyond just legislation and consider underlying funding and institutional arrangements. The system needs to be more future focused and strategic, and less siloed. It needs to be more agile. The report proposes the creation of an independent Futures Commission to provide independent oversight and future focus, so we anticipate needs instead of simply reacting to them.