New Zealand Law Society - RMA National Monitoring System data released

RMA National Monitoring System data released

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The Ministry for the Environment has released data on local authorities' implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991 for the year to 30 June 2015.

The data includes an interactive data tool which displays selected 2014/15 data from the National Monitoring System and selected historic data from the RMA Survey of Local Authorities.

The complete National Monitoring System 2014/15 dataset is also available as a series of downloadable files.

The data on resource consents shows that in the year to 30 June 2015, 40,363 resource consents were processed through to a decision (to approve or decline the application) and 611 resource consents were withdrawn.

90% of resource consents processed to a decision were section 88 applications (for a new resource consent), and 64% of the resource consents processed related to land use activities.

Land use consents were most commonly processed as restricted discretionary activities, followed by discretionary activities, while subdivision consents were most commonly processed as controlled activities.

Looking at trends in resource consent processing, the information shows that 15% of resource consents processed were for controlled activities, which remains consistent with RMA Survey data from 2007/08.

Resource consents processed for restricted discretionary activities, at 33% of all resource consents processed, were up 10% from 2007/08.

The proportion of resource consents for discretionary activities has gradually decreased from 50% in 2007/08 to 39% in 2014/15, while the proportion of resource consents for non-complying activity consents has gradually increased from 8% in 2007/08 to 11% in 2014/15.

Commenting on the data release, Environment Minister Nick Smith says it shows how slow New Zealand's planning system is, with the average time for a council plan taking more than eight years and for a council plan change four years.

"It is crucial to resolving issues like housing that we have a far more responsive planning system," he says. 

"The Government's second phase of RMA reform, currently before Parliament, provides the option for councils to adopt a streamlined planning process which will enable councils to achieve plan changes in six months."