Back to news & events


Changes to resource management

Posted 22 12 2023

in News

Image: uploads/2023_12/1703193903292.jpeg
Repeal of the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA) and Spatial Planning Act (SPA).

Legislation was passed in Parliament this week to repeal the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBA) and Spatial Planning Act (SPA).

The Resource Management (Natural and Built Environment and Spatial Planning Repeal and Interim Fast-track Consenting) Bill is expected to receive Royal assent on 24 December.

The SPA, and most of the NBA’s provisions, are not in use. Almost all resource management activities will still be covered by the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The Ministry for the Environment has prepared information on what the changes mean for a range or resource management areas, including:

Fast-track consenting

The repeal legislation retains the NBA fast-track consenting process. Any consent issued will be treated like a consent under the RMA.

The Government has announced its intention to introduce new fast-track consenting legislation within the first 100 days of office (from November 2023). The NBA regime applies until that legislation is passed.

Freshwater consents

The NBA amended the RMA to introduce a shorter maximum duration for certain freshwater consents and the maximum duration to NBA plan rules.

To recognise some consent applicants may receive shorter durations than they otherwise would have, public notification of replacement freshwater related consents was precluded.

Freshwater consents applied for since 24 August 2023 that have not been decided will now have their duration determined in accordance with the 35-year maximum duration provided for in the RMA.

Replacement freshwater consents applied for since 24 August 2023 that have not had a notification decision made will now be eligible for public notification under the RMA.

Any resource consents granted in accordance with the shorter duration consent provisions are still valid under the RMA.

Read about the work on the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Requiring authorities

A requiring authority is an entity that can designate land for a specified purpose (such as schools and roading) for planning and consenting. Requiring authorities also have access to the process for compulsory land acquisition under the Public Works Act.

The NBA gave council-controlled organisations (CCOs) the same automatic requiring authority status as councils.

This has been reversed and CCOs no longer have automatic status.

Any in-progress applications to become a requiring authority under the NBA will not be processed and any granted applications will be revoked.

Notices of requirement lodged by requiring authorities granted their status solely under the NBA (this is likely to apply to CCOs only), will not be processed and any notices of requirement that have been confirmed will not be able to be exercised.

On 23 November 2023, the NBA also broadened the scope and number of ‘non-network’ entities that could apply to become a requiring authority.

Any applications that have been submitted will cease to be processed, although where an applicant meets the RMA definition of a network utility operator, they can re-apply under the RMA.

If any application has been approved, approvals will be revoked, except where an applicant meets the RMA definition of a network utility operator. In that event, the approval is treated as an approval under the RMA.

Treaty settlements and other arrangements with Māori.

The NBA required information about consent applications to be provided to PSGEs with statutory acknowledgements, even where equivalent requirements under Treaty settlements were time bound or had expired.

The repeal legislation amends the RMA to retain this provision.

Mana Whakahono ā Rohe: Our understanding is no Mana Whakahono ā Rohe have been initiated or joint management agreements requested under the NBA since August 2023. Parties involved in any that have been initiated or requested under the NBA must not progress it and may may now re-start the process under the RMA.

The NBA enabled groups representing hapū to initiate Mana Whakahono ā Rohe (they were previously unable to do so under the RMA). The repeal bill will enable any groups representing hapū that have initiated a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe under the NBA to initiate a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe under the RMA.

Read about the changes, and access information here.