Environment Minister releases proposed national framework for new resource management legislation

The framework consolidates existing national direction, bringing together around 20 instruments

Environment Minister releases proposed national framework for new resource management legislation

Environment Minister David Parker announced the issuance of a draft National Planning Framework (NPF) document to implement the new legislation on resource management.

The NPF consolidates around 20 existing national directives, including policy statements and regulations, providing a comprehensive roadmap for development and environmental management. Parker emphasised that a significant addition to the NPF is the inclusion of a new chapter on infrastructure, a result of extensive collaboration led by the Infrastructure Commission. This chapter introduces standards for activities such as sediment control, aiming to simplify processes and reduce the need for costly consents.

"Preparing the NPF has been a major piece of work. I thank all those involved in doing it, including the Infrastructure Commission," Minister Parker said.

Parker also said that the local government is the key implementer of the NPF. There are also obligations under Treaty settlements, agreed by successive governments, that must be carried forward under the Resource Management Act. In line with this, the Minister has released a draft NPF for initial engagement with local government and Māori groups. The draft NPF will form the basis of a public consultation in early 2024, led by an independent board of inquiry to be chaired by former Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook.

Minister Parker emphasised, "There would be no obligation on an incoming government to continue the board of inquiry process if it repeals the Natural and Built Environment Act and reverts to the RMA, which National criticised for many years."

David Parker further said the government is also acting on another requirement of the new legislation by establishing a Freshwater Working Group to provide a report on water allocation issues. This move aligns with the Crown's obligation and commitments to the Supreme Court a decade ago.

"The working group is required by law to report back by 31 October 2024 – this is a tight deadline, so work needs to get underway," Parker said. "An incoming government could reverse this work by changing the law."

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