New Zealand Law Society - Government responds to Rules Reduction report

Government responds to Rules Reduction report

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The Government has released its response to the Rules Reduction Taskforce's Loopy Rules Report, saying it accepts 72 of the 75 opportunities identified to improve the way rules and regulations are developed and implemented at local level.

The Taskforce was established in 2015 to identify property related rules and regulations that stop people from getting on with the job.

Its report, published in September 2015, brought together information from many New Zealanders' experience of rules which did not make sense or were inconsistently applied.

Submissions were received on over 2,000 topics.

The Taskforce recommended "ten top fixes" to address the 75 opportunities it identified for improving the way rules and regulations are developed.

The main Acts affected are the Building Act 2004, the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Local Government Acts 1974 and 2002.

"The Government accepts 72 of those opportunities and work is underway across Government to address them," Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga says.

"Customer service was identified by the Taskforce as an issue for many New Zealanders seeking building and resource consents and generally dealing with property related matters. Many of these customer service issues require culture change at local level and we will work with councils to address this."

The three opportunities which the Government does not accept are: 

"Stop the practice of demanding money to sign an affected party form" - The Government says in cases where a person is genuinely affected  such side agreements can be very beneficial to resolving issues.

"Require councils to have evidence of potential contamination before imposing a test, and to share costs where a test or re-test proves negative" - The Government says it considers the current distribution of costs and burden of evidence appropriate.

"Review the recent tree protection changes to address the concerns raised" - The Government says the charges came into full effect in September 2015, so a review at this stage would be premature. The Ministry for the Environment will monitor implementation of the changes.

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