RMA by-pass to encourage development
Monday 4 September 2017
Separate urban planning laws which by-pass the Resource Management Act (RMA) and ease the path of development will be bought in if a National-led government is re-elected.
According to National’s Infrastructure spokesperson Steven Joyce and Environment spokesperson Nick Smith, the policy will encourage more responsive planning and faster development in growing cities.
Joyce said they want to make it easier to build the housing and infrastructure needed for growth while ensuring the country’s urban environments are among the world’s most liveable.
"To do that we need to give our cities the ability to adapt and develop faster, while respecting and improving the urban environment - and the current planning system is not allowing that.
“The RMA’s one-size-fits-all approach has restrained the development of our cities, dragged on their economic performance, and restricted the supply of much-needed housing and infrastructure.”
He said that, to deal with this, National will establish a fit-for-purpose planning system that allows cities to evolve in a way that improves the local environment, but makes them great places to live and work.
There have long been calls for a reform of New Zealand’s complex and bureaucratic planning system.
Back in March, the Productivity Commission recommended a radical shakeup of the existing system in its Better Urban Planning report.
It said such a shakeup would make development easier and less costly – and put a halt to escalating house prices.
The OCED has also said that New Zealand’s lack of a comprehensive urban development strategy is a problem.
The current National-led government has been making changes to the RMA with the goal of making it easier to develop and build.
But Smith said they have reached the end of what can be done by making incremental changes to the RMA and it is time to develop fit-for-purpose urban planning legislation.
The new planning legislation will have clear and separate objectives for regulating urban and natural environments, he said.
"This new legislation will work in parallel with our plan to put in place urban development authorities to redevelop specific brownfields areas in our cities to allow for more housing.”
The urban planning reform process will start by consulting with local government, iwi, experts, and the public and will emulate the process used with Auckland’s Unitary Plan, Smith said.
“We want to use the same collaborative formula to create an urban planning system that enables growth, gives businesses the confidence to invest, and adapts to the changing needs of cities.”
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