Dairying, Housing : More on Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Water resource management [lincoln.ac.nz] 1Irrigation [lincoln.ac.nz]

█ Interpretation of the existing RMA has led to dairy intensification destroying waterways and threatening public health and welfare, in large measure.
A bit of a tour….

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 14:29, March 23 2016
Canterbury rumbly-gut outbreak linked to dairying
By Pat Deavoll
An outbreak of “rumbly-gut” among communities in Canterbury has Waikato veterinarian and agri-ecology consultant Alison Dewes concerned. She thinks the outbreak is the result of dairy intensification and irrigation contaminating public drinking water. Thirty per cent of the region’s shallow wells have already experienced an increase in nitrogen and pathogen levels after 10-15 years of irrigation on shallow lighter soils, she says. “We have the highest rates of ecoli diseases in the world, and the highest rate of campylobacter, cryptosporidia and giardia in communities in the Hinds region. We have the highest rates of zoonoses (disease spread from animals to humans) in the world in some of the irrigated/dairy catchments like Selwyn and Hinds and the government is promoting a further 40,000ha of irrigation in an already allocated and at risk catchment. Economics and dairy intensification are trumping public health and welfare.”
Read more

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### NZ Herald Online 8:42 AM Wednesday Mar 9, 2016
40pc of farms fail to lodge consents
By Zaryd Wilson – Wanganui Chronicle
Forty per cent of dairy farms required to lodge a resource consent application with Horizons Regional Council have not done so. A total of 229 dairy operations were required to have lodged an application by January 1 this year under the regional council’s One Plan, which aims to limit nitrogen pollution of waterways. The One Plan – adopted by the council in 2014 – limits nitrogen leaching by intensive farm operations, namely dairy, commercial horticulture, cropping and intensive sheep and beef farming. Figures released to the Chronicle under the Official Information Act reveal that only 137 of the 229 dairy operations which came under new rules have lodged consent applications. The new rules took effect on July 1 last year, and farms had six months – up until January 1 – to apply.
Read more

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Wetland copy-header [nzarm.org.nz] 1Wetlands [nzarm.org.nz]

26.11.15 NZH: Resource Management Act reforms to be introduced
The Government will introduce its long awaited Resource Management Act reforms to Parliament next week after securing the support of the Maori Party. The reforms to the country’s main planning document stalled two years ago when National’s support partners refused to back them because of their potential impact on the environment.

Ministry for the Environment

About the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
This page has information on the amendments proposed in 2015 to the Resource Management Act 1991.

Resource Legislation Amendment Bill [New Zealand Legislation website]
The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament on 26 November 2015.

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Leading New Zealand law firm Chapman Tripp say:
OPINION Most of the provisions in the Bill have been telegraphed in advance so there is little to surprise. If passed as drafted, it has the capacity to reduce costs and speed up planning processes – but probably only at the margins. For more radical and meaningful change we may have to await the results of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into urban planning (see Chapman Tripp’s commentary here, dated 2.11.15).

RMA Reform Bill – busy with change but less than National wanted
Chapman Tripp 26 November 2015
OPINION The ‘phase two’ RMA reforms, initially to have been passed in 2014, have now finally been introduced to Parliament as the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. The Bill is a busy piece of legislation running to more than 200 pages, and aims to help streamline planning and consenting processes. But National has had to abandon its proposals to remove the “hierarchy” some saw as enshrined in the existing Part 2 of the RMA, promoting environmental values ahead of economic development in sections six and seven. After the loss of the Northland seat to Winston Peters in March, it does not have the votes to get the wider and more far-reaching changes through. We look at the Bill:
Major changes
● Requiring councils to follow national planning templates (once such templates are available) with standardised provisions across the country.
● A range of measures aimed at producing faster, more flexible planning processes. These include: tighter timelines for plan production and the introduction of two new tracks – a collaborative track and a streamlined track.
● Reduced requirements for consents – allowing councils discretion not to require a resource consent for minor changes, creating a new 10 day fast-track for simple consents and eliminating the need for an RMA consent when consenting is provided for in other legislation.
● Stronger national direction – especially in relation to hot-button issues like providing for new housing or addressing dairy stock in rivers.
Read more

Blue skies review for urban planning – the take-off
Chapman Tripp 15 January 2016
OPINION The blue skies review into urban planning has now left the runway, with the release by the Productivity Commission before Christmas of an issues paper seeking feedback on possible directions for change.

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### nbr.co.nz Fri, 23 Jan 2015
NZ POLITICS DAILY: Blue-Green battle over housing crisis and RMA
By Bryce Edwards
OPINION A blue-green battle is looming over housing affordability and the reform of the Resource Management Act. This might well be one of the biggest political battles of 2015. After all, the issue of housing affordability is of significant concern to the general public, while the reform of the RMA is of particular concern to political parties, with the ideologies of National/Act and the Green Party looking to clash the strongest. True blue Nats have never been comfortable with the RMA (despite it actually being passed by a National government). It has been seen as being too green (environmentally weighted) and not blue enough (economically weighted). For two decades, therefore, National’s traditional constituency of farmers and business have wanted to see the legislation turned into more of an Economic Development Act. That’s precisely what’s going to happen according to Chris Trotter, who says today that New Zealand Doesn’t Need A “Developers’ Charter”. He argues that the new reforms signalled this week by Nick Smith ‘would be about using the legislative process to advance the interests of a section of New Zealand society which has, for more than sixty years, grown extremely wealthy (and dangerously influential) by convincing the National Party to continue following a model of sprawling urban development, based on the single-story detached dwelling and the private automobile’.
Read more

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Housing - resource management [Stuff.co.nz] 1Urban land use regulation [Stuff.co.nz]

### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 15:15, December 9 2015
Pattrick Smellie: First Rule of RMA Reform: It Never Ends
OPINION Make way, make way for the Great Resource Management Act Reform! What? You say? Didn’t that just land with a resounding flop after seven years’ gestation and the government’s most cherished hope – environmental law that was better for economic development – largely abandoned? Nope. The relatively uncontroversial Resource Legislation Reform Bill passed its First Reading for referral to a select committee last week by a thumping 92-14 parliamentary majority, suggesting bi-partisanship emerging on most of the wide range of widely agreed process improvements it contains. That’s a good sign, because it is a parliamentary challenge for the way it splits ultimately into five bills, affecting five separate pieces of legislation, including reserves, public works,conservation and the exclusive economic zone. David Parker, Labour’s new environment spokesman, has upheld the party’s previous position of support for obvious improvements and the inclusion of oversights from the purpose clauses of the RMA such as management of natural hazards – like earthquakes. National’s attempt to make a deeper change to two purpose clauses, Sections 6 and 7, of the RMA is a lost cause now, but the alternative line of attack is already visible.

In ordering up a new Productivity Commission inquiry into urban planning laws, Finance Minister Bill English and Environment Minister Nick Smith have effectively opened the first salvo on what would be a five year campaign to split the RMA back into two pieces of law: one covering planning and the other covering environmental management.

That would make New Zealand more like many other similar jurisdictions and might be expected to cut through the Gordian Knot of the RMA’s failings, which are in too large a part the cause of the mad price of housing in Auckland.
Read more

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### NZ Herald Online 4:50 AM Monday Mar 21, 2016
Editorial: New bill prompts concern
By Andrew Bonallack – The Northern Advocate
OPINION Both local and central government would undoubtedly prefer that resource consents not be opposed in vexatious fashion, especially by those who don’t appear to be connected to the situation, or just oppose on principle. But there is a proposed piece of legislation proceeding through Parliament which should be a major red flag for those who believe in holding councils to account.

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill proposes changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that would significantly trample on those who feel a proposed resource consent would have significant effects on their locality.

Under the RMA, the “likely to be more than minor” test has been the threshold for a proposal to be opened up to the public for submissions. Of course, what constitutes “minor” is pretty subjective, but nonetheless it was there. Under this new bill, councils can be more restrictive. According to Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright, the Minister could exclude certain activities from notification and particular people from making submissions. She also warns amendments to the “more than minor” test could mean councils would ignore a major adverse effect on the environment. Another issue is councils restricting concerns submitters are allowed to cover.

The council would be able to ignore what could actually be relevant information. And it seems any kind of subdivision or residential development would not have to be notified.

Already the Dunedin City Council is calling it “an attack on democracy”, saying people would have to hire expensive consultants to present what was previously an honest, free submission. In my view, residents are prone to BANANA characteristics (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) and can lack the good sense to realise that communities need to be progressive. But this bill appears to be attacking people’s rights to participate in the resource management process. That’s not a good thing.
NZH Link

● The editorial also appeared in the Wairarapa Times-Age (17.3.16).

Related Post and Comments:
19.3.16 Takes the Cake | What Dairy Crisis ? #DUD #PropertySpeculation
23.1.16 Chris Trotter on National’s “developers’ charter” #RMA reforms
19.1.15 Housing affordability in this country is “just hopeless” –Hugh Pavletich
9.11.14 Dunedin: Housing upgrade and “rearrangement”
21.7.13 RMA and Key’s right-wing slashers
12.6.13 Dunedin housing: building up or Brown-like sprawl #intensification #costlyinfrastructure
29.10.12 Govt to open up more land for houses
6.7.12 Recommended changes to RMA explode environmental protection
8.3.11 Resource Management Act streamlining by National-led government

Pekapeka wetland (restored), Hawke's Bay [doc.govt.nz]Pekapeka wetland (restored), Hawke’s Bay [doc.govt.nz]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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7 responses to “Dairying, Housing : More on Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

  1. Elizabeth

    Sat, 26 Mar 2016
    ODT: More community input in RMA sought
    Otago regional councillor Louise Croot has criticised proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, saying it is reducing community notification and input. Proposed reduction of community involvement was the “biggest threat” to the RMA, Cr Croot told an Otago Regional Council meeting this week.

    Wed, 23 Mar 2016
    ODT: ORC out of sorts over RMA changes
    The Otago Regional Council has taken issue with new wide-ranging ministerial powers included in the Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act. A report to be tabled at today’s Otago Regional Council meeting outlines recent submissions by the council to the Government over the proposed Resource Legislation Amendment Bill […] there were several significant amendments that ‘‘cut into local decision-making powers by creating ministerial opportunities to intervene in local plan-making and consenting processes”.

    Mon, 21 Mar 2016
    ODT Editorial: Democracy not negotiable
    OPINION It takes something significant to unify the various voices around Dunedin City Council’s table. Last week it was, ironically, one of New Zealand’s most divisive pieces of legislation, the Resource Management Act, and its proposed amendment, the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.

    Tue, 15 Mar 2016
    ODT: DCC up in arms over Bill
    Members of the public will need to pay for costly consultants if they want a say on development if controversial changes to the Resource Management Act are passed. Dunedin City councillors yesterday took issue with this and other changes proposed in the Government’s Resource Legislation Amendment Bill – which reforms the Resource Management Act (RMA).

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    ORC REPORT
    Document Id: A883750
    Report Number: 2016/0659
    Prepared For: Policy Committee
    Prepared By: Director Policy, Planning and Resource Management
    Date: 26 February 2016
    Subject: Director’s Report on Policy Progress and Submissions

    Section 2.5
    LGNZ Blue Skies Resource Management Submission Review of the LGNZ Blue Skies Resource Management Submission is attached to this report.

    Source: go to pp 73-77

    A blue skies discussion about NZ’s resource management system

    1 Introduction
    Many of the underlying concerns relate to poor practice or inadequate methods in planning and resource management and are promoted from a perspective that a no-planning-system is a viable alternative. Many of the concerns are generic and arise in response to any planning system being not unique to RMA. Consequently, the major response should be development of new methodologies across many related disciplines to support RMA rather than greatly altering RMA systems and processes.
    ORC supports of retaining the current RMA planning frame and aligning it with LGA and LTMA. Such an approach can address many of the stated issues while retaining general certainty of roles, functions, processes, systems and purposes of the acts. The alternative creates wide spread uncertainty – remember back to the learned debate around the meaning of while in s5 of the RMA.
    Government needs to remain focused on developing a system that enables sustainable growth while managing the resource management issues of the day.

    2 NZ resource management system
    The original drivers behind the RMA are still relevant today, just as they were in 1991. For example, the level playing field, one stop shop, recognition of the market within defined limits, and most importantly, effects based regulation.
    Essentially, poor knowledge and understanding of the above system drivers, and access to tools that advance those ends means that behaviour, actions and achievements have not fulfilled the opportunity created by the RMA.
    Key problems arise as a result of an overly specific process emphasis, a lack of methods to address the uncertain, complex and knowledge short reaityl of predictive planning in a dynamic and interconnected world. Equally, regulatory interaction with property rights, distribution of cost and benefits, and dealing with uncertainty have all been poorly managed.
    This criticism is not of the RMA itself but rather the many players involved in the implementation and administration of planning and management under the Act. There is a real need for development of tools to address these gaps and enable the potential of the RMA to be achieved.
    Aligning related acts, LGA, RMA and LTMA, is supported.
    The effects based approach under the RMA has not been embraced with most plans retaining an activity direct and control approach. This approach alone means reporting on relevant criteria such as environmental quality, economic wellbeing, or community health and safety difficult.
    The single planning, management regime for NZ is to be applauded and retained. However, the roles and functions of regional and district councils need to be considered when making changes as adding further detail for particular issues can have consequences elsewhere resulting from their functions.

    3 Current and emerging context
    3.1 The system is critical to NZ economic advantage
    There is a need to retain a focus on reducing transaction costs in planning and resource management, and this is delivered by a responsive system which is able to accommodate the dynamic and complex context within which decisions are made.
    The urban drift of labour, services and economic activity will continue but the necessity for retaining rural/regional economic activity still remains. Our national reliance on primary resource activities [primary production, tourism] for national economic success is not well described by GDP criteria. Planning requires retention of opportunities for provision of labour and services to support those primary based activities. These matters appear mostly as urban issues – but are not uniquely urban
    Planning must be able to create opportunities, including provision of strategic infrastructure and special housing areas but must be able to protect that approach from inconsistent approaches. The relationship between community shared benefits and community costs with private direct benefits needs to be robustly addressed. For example, where spatial planning and housing areas have imposed community cost through provision of strategic infrastructure council should be able to resist inconsistent private development that does not utilise the community sunk costs.
    There is an inherent conflict within RMA, simply put: a cultural ethical paradigm which encapsulates the Maori world view of unbounded connectedness and a values base; and rational science which is derived from empirical investigation to describe and define components and connections. The former paradigm seeks good outcomes and the later the right outcome. Successful resource management needs the cultural ethical paradigm to define issues while the rational science paradigm is essential for the development of solutions. These conflicting paradigms are behind many of the outcome issues attributed to RMA.

    3.2 Operating in a dynamic and complex context
    Many of the current processes and systems do not understand, relate to or address the changing context, imperfect knowledge base or predictive nature of planning and resource management. While certainty is a laudable concept, certainty of process can be defined but certainty of decision or outcome is less likely in a future, dynamic and complex world. Changes to RMA need to allow future systems to accommodate such a world.

    3.3 Common goal of NZers
    Designers of our planning system need to understand the common goal of NZers, but those with an oversight need to understand the inherent conflict between this goal and allowing change to occur. Development creates conflict between private and public, direct and indirect costs and benefits, between shared and whole apportionment of costs and benefits, and especially between community shared costs and private whole benefits – when the developer gets all the benefit and the community pays all the cost.

    4 Key perspectives and views [section 4]
    Performance of the planning system poorly monitored or addressed, such as simply counting the number of consents or tracking processes, has little relevance to assessment against s5 Purpose of RMA. There is a burning need for development of methodologies to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of planning and management systems, such that a learning cycle of improvement can be implemented at central, regional and local government – including social, economic and environmental communities. This requires an approach that identifies and addresses root causes of problems rather than symptoms of bigger problems. Additionally, problems which have an antiplanning root cause should be carefully assessed and the question, “is there any solution?” asked.
    Within the wider NZ planning system there are both rational-science and cultural-ethical paradigms having constructs of right and wrong, and good and bad respectively. Consequently, specificity, exactness and easy measuring and assessment are very difficult. Easily made measurements fall short of expressing plan achievements. These opposing world views mean processes are complex and open to abuse meaning the time and cost for all parties can appear unnecessary or excessive.
    Consenting processes are unnecessarily complex and being made more complex as amendments are made to address issues. While the intention is fine the practice becomes increasingly complex and in itself subject to project fatal challenge. It would be better to provide more generic expectations of processes with criteria to drive individual process decisions. This would allow local government to seek efficiency in process rather than covering against challenge of systems.
    Anticipating certainty of decisions by councils, courts and boards is to deny the complexity of the decision being made. The decision is multi-disciplinary, future focused, predictive and lacking full knowledge all in a complex and changing context. This requires new decision making processes involving an inquisitorial function that recognise these limitations rather than the current adversarial approach which assumes a stable and predictable context with full knowledge.
    The emphasis of the planning system should be on achieving sustainability planning and resource management outcomes rather than adherence to increasingly complex processes.

    5 Evolution of resource management systems [section 5]

    Building on the above, topic such as climate change, carbon emissions, mineral resource, irrigation development, and water storage, quality and quantity when treated in isolation create conflict and tension around priority. This is counter to a system which is equipped to achieve a higher goal of resource management in a complex and dynamic world.
    Systems have been purpose built in Auckland, Canterbury and Waikato to address planning issues which have arisen. The issues requiring these changes [urgency, streamlined process and limit appeal on merit of decisions] are common to all councils so it would sbe sensible to extend these same systems to all other councils and prevent the very same issues occurring elsewhere.
    There is much said about alternative planning processes, such as collaboration, but the First Schedule process well implemented is equally effective in addressing community concerns.
    Valuing ecosystem services, like cultural-ethical considerations, require new methodologies if some form of detailed analysis is anticipated. The current methods are not able to address many of the criteria, characteristics and contexts of the decisions needing to be made.

    6 Fit for purpose system
    6.1 Suggested scope of options and stepped approach
    Recognising that resource change is certain, whether we act or not, means planning is about managing the rate, scale and location of change and the impacts of the change on community agreed values.
    It is essential that the role of hearing panels [within councils, the Environment Court, EPA or other] has an inquisitorial role and is able to make comprehensive predictive decisions while addressing the many and varied conflicting and complementary matters. ORC acknowledges the benefits of training and accreditation for decision makers that is now required. Linking this to the LGA and LTMA would be useful. This supports development of new methodologies but also results in consistent and interdependent processes.
    Well administered and suitably refined RMA can unlock resource management potential. However, for the many matters discussed, a comprehensive planning and resource management system should be able to produce an integrated response – rather than separate systems which emphasise conflict between matters. Integration is necessary to avoid conflicting specific objectives and priorities which compromise achievement of high order outcomes.
    An effective system can address conflicts in resource use: rural v urban; primary production v landscape and biodiversity; soil quality and land use; water supply and aquatic habitat.

    6.2 Reform program and 2015 Bill proposals
    Many of the suggestions seek to retain the same core system and processes without a good understanding of the overall impact on transaction costs of enabling economic activity access to necessary resources. Decisions constrain negative impacts on sustainability of those essential underlying resources.
    Planning systems especially Regional Policy statements and plans have a key role to play in the way the balance between national and regional directions are embedded. Uncertainty will always be present as future needs of future generations are considered.
    ORC supports the necessity for evidence based policy and this means investment in research to develop methods and capture new information to support decision makers.
    The impact of new research to support outcome matters such as “social licence to operate” features in overseas resource management. Clearly, communities and their voices are an important aspect of the balance to be found in legislation and process.
    Finally, ORC accepts centralised definition of outcomes for resource management but seeks an assurance that the increasing centralisation of process/tactics decision making should be avoided.
    Future changes to RMA should address methodologies to enable decision making for a complex, integrated, future world, rather than increase system process complexity.

  2. Elizabeth

    The days (ALL – being each and every day of the year “nowadays” when before it just used to be THE COMPLETELY THICK CLUB and could be easily ignored) when Federated [The Frustrated] Farmers grate on New Zealanders’ conscience and welfare through agricultural intensification and monolythic thinking about bloody irrigation. Why not wreck every conceivable ecosystem and every soil type as you downgrade and poison the aquifiers and waterways. Dipshits.

    Tue, 29 Mar 2016
    ODT: More water would make Otago grow
    By John Rowley OPINION
    Simon Hartley’s excellent article about Otago’s gross domestic product (ODT, 11.3.16) identified just how poorly the province is performing. Otago is No10 out of 15 provinces. […] As a province with more potential than any other in New Zealand, now is not too late to push for irrigation development.

    ● John Rowley is a Teviot Valley farmer and Otago Federated Farmers past president.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Irrigation is brilliant. What’s not brilliant is using it to force the land to produce the wrong product, the product it is not well suited to (no matter how much The Sacred Market wants that product) nor can produce without harm to that land and surrounding environment incl waterways.
    Remember when Muldoon subsidised fertilizer? Plane loads were spread over hills hugely unsuited for anything outside “How many acres to a sheep?”
    Good times for the fert companies and ag pilots, often young and passionate about flying… except the ones who were pushed harder than was reasonable, considering the conditions and their experience. Wheelchairs, tombstones, and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission looking tissue-paper deep then declaring “Pilot error”. Sorted. Over and over………

  4. Elizabeth

    Golly! One of the old boys has recognised Dairy is having an effect on our local economy. Noooo. Surely not….. This isn’t possible because Daaave and JC Superstar said we’re in growth mode (subtext at half the rate of the national average – they forget most of us access MSM and drifts and rafts of social media). LOL

    Thu, 31 Mar 2016
    ODT: Dairy drags Otago’s confidence down
    Otago’s regional economic confidence fell sharply in the three months ended March 16, a larger drop than expected because it is one of the regions where dairying is not as prominent as in its Southland neighbour.

  5. Elizabeth

    DCC Planning and Regulatory Committee

    Agenda – PRC – 14/03/2016 (PDF, 393.3 KB)
    █ The agenda and reports are located together in this file.

    REPORTS
    Part A: Item 5 [pp 6-30]
    Submission on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
    Attachments A, B and C

    A – Key Changes of the Seven Broad Categories of the Amendment Bill
    B – Detailed Discussion of the Changes to the PWA
    C – DCC Submission on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

    via Department(s): Community and Planning and Corporate Services

  6. Calvin Oaten

    “You can’t underestimate the value of conferences and one off events at the Stadium”, says Mr McGowan CEO of the Otago Chamber of Commerce. No kidding, he said that. He’s right of course, except he didn’t say whether it underestimates the value, or the damage. A chocolate fish to the first one who gets that correct. The seeming general malaise in the Otago region could well be allayed by the ‘rising tide raising everybody’s boats’ rule, as the sea level rises to the instructions of Mayor Dave Cull. Then Dunedin will truly become one of the ‘greatest small cities in the world’. Or not!

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