Reform or Transform
New Zealand’s physical and policy landscapes have morphed considerably since the Resource Management Act’s (RMA) inception in 1991 – as have the material issues that confront us today. The RMA was both ground-breaking and world-leading in terms of putting sustainability firmly at the forefront of a national economic growth strategy. Twenty-six years and twenty-one Bill amendments later, New Zealand now stands at a crossroads.
We have strayed far from the RMA’s original philosophy of providing a one-stop, effects based system with a high degree of district and regional decision-making, grounded on public participation and appeal rights. Compounded by the most recent 2017 Resource Legislation Amendment Act, there is now a multiplicity of process options, increased national direction, additional complexity and reduced opportunities for public participation and appeals.
In view of the current state of our waterways, soil quality and erosion, per capita emissions, wealth divide, housing crisis and climate-related weather events, New Zealand needs to consider whether it continues along the path of incremental reform; or whether it is time to identify a more appropriate framework for achieving resilience in the environmental, community and economic outcomes that we seek as a nation.
By the time we meet at the 2018 RMLA conference, we will have witnessed many of the changes introduced by the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill taking effect. Reform or Transform 2018 will give us pause to consider whether these changes herald the need for further reform of the RMA system; or whether we have reached a point at which radical transformation is now required.
It is fitting that this year’s conference takes place in the Wellington, in proximity to New Zealand’s seat of power and against a stunning backdrop that characterises New Zealand’s distinctive, inimitable culture. With a powerful line-up of parliamentary ministers, leading international economists, clean energy leaders and green economy movers and shakers, Reform or Transform offers your company the opportunity to align with today’s leading influencers and change agents.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Clare Sinnott Phil Gurnsey
Special Counsel – Environment and Planning General Manager Estate Strategy
MinterEllisonRuddWatts New Zealand Defence Force