9 Dec 2008

Govt departments criticise Resource Management Act

9:47 am on 9 December 2008

Government departments have criticised the Resource Management Act in briefing papers to Conservation Minister Tim Groser.

The Government intends to change the legislation in order to speed up the planning process.

The briefing paper - a joint report from the Ministry for the Environment, the Department of Conservation and other departments says there are real problems with the Act and how it is applied by both local and central government.

It says quicker final decisions are needed especially for major infrastructure projects.

However, it warns against a full review of the law, saying that could create new period of uncertainty.

Instead the paper recommends making improvements by strengthening the role of central government, particularly on matters of national importance.

Reform process

The Government says its proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act are the most significant since the legislation's inception 17 years ago.

Environment Minister Nick Smith told Morning Report on Tuesday he will announce a technical advisory group this week and the first stage of the reform bill will be submitted to Parliament by February.

He said complex issues such as water supply and infrastructure will be addressed at a later date.

Dr Smith said the complexity of the Act means the reform bill will be introduced in a staged process.