New Zealand Law Society - Resource Legislation Amendment Bill report released

Resource Legislation Amendment Bill report released

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Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee has released its report on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill with a majority recommendation that it be passed with amendments.

The bill's intended purpose is to create a resource management system that achieves the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in an efficient and equitable way.

It would principally amend the Resource Management Act 1991, Reserves Act 1977, Public Works Act 1981, Conservaton Act 1987 and the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

The bill is opposed by the Labour Party, Green Party and New Zealand First party.

It was referred to the select committee on 3 December 2015 with submissions closing on 14 March 2016. The committee received 647 unique submissions and 94 form-style submissions. It heard from 137 submitters between 7 April and 2 June 2016.

The bill reverted back to the House on 7 November 2016 before being referred back to the committee on 10 November 2016. The committee says it received further advice before deliberating.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says the bill will come back to the House for its second reading this week.

He says the Māori Party was not a member of the select committee.

"The Māori Party reached agreement with the Government to support the Bill through all remaining stages in Parliament following detailed consideration of the initial policy and the inclusion of proposed changes to strengthen the original Iwi Participation Agreement," he says.

"The Mana Whakahono ā Rohe/Iwi Participation Agreement provides a better framework for councils to meet their existing obligations to consult with local iwi. Many councils already have these agreements through Treaty settlements or good practice. The Government supports these provisions because we want iwi involved in how natural resources are managed and because formalising the process will help achieve better outcomes with less delays and costs."

Dr Smith says the Māori Party needs time to digest all of the select committee's detailed changes to ensure they are consistent with their agreement with the Government.