Advocacy in Action | February 2023

Resource Management System reform

Last week, Property Council submitted on the Natural and Built Environment Bill and Spatial Planning Bill. It was a busy time for the advocacy team, with 800 plus pages of legislation to read in the lead up to the Christmas break.

A massive thank you to our Resource Reform Taskforce who met with us to help form our position on the Bills:

  • Dave Moule – Boffa Miskell
  • Bevan Houlbrooke – CKL Planner
  • Thomas Gibbons – Thomas Gibbons Law
  • Melissa Hodd – Foodstuffs
  • Nick Roberts – Barker Associates
  • Daniel Minhinnick – Russell McVeagh
  • Daniel Shao – Woolworths Group
  • Joan Forret – Harkness Henry
  • Neil Donnelly – Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa
  • Anton Shead – Goodman
  • Olga Druzhinina – Development Advisory Services
  • Dasha Kovalenko – Sheiff Angland
  • Elliot Ingram – Tactical Group
  • Anthea Coombes – Glaister Ennor

We cannot do what we do without your valuable expertise – read on for a summary of the submissions.

Natural and Built Environment Bill submission

Why it matters to our members

The Natural and Built Environment Bill is the closest replacement to the current Resource Management Act and looks to introduce the concept of te Oranga o te Taiao (translating to the health and wellbeing of the environment). While we welcome resource reform, we must ensure that the new legislation strikes the right balance of protecting not only the natural environment, but the built environment.

If we get this wrong, we risk hindering quality development in our cities and regions through legislation that ignores the property ecosystem.

Our view

Property Council supports the Government’s intent to establish a streamlined and faster consenting process, long-term regional spatial planning and certainty for current and future urban development and infrastructure.

However, we continue to strongly oppose the legislative intent to only have central government, local government and iwi representatives on regional planning committees. Private sector representation is vital given than the sector will be expected to implement future development and infrastructure to support growth. We are also concerned that the legislation falls short of its intention to have a joined-up approach from central government and local government.

Overall, there are many aspects of the current drafting that we support. However, we have some concerns on how this will work in practice and have made several recommendations to ensure fair outcomes for all.

Read the full submission.

Spatial Planning Bill submission

Why it matters to our members

The Spatial Planning Bill provides for the development and implementation of long-term, strategic spatial planning across New Zealand through the development of regional spatial strategies. This is critical as regional spatial strategies will develop 30-plus year plans that seek to streamline the planning process and providing more certainty to development.

Our view

Property Council has long championed the need for resource reform and supports the action taken by Government to reduce the number of plans from 100 to 15 and introduce Regional Spatial Strategies. We commend the Government and officials for producing the Bill.

In saying that, we are concerned about the overall lack of detail in the legislation. In particular, the lack of detail for the governance structure of Regional Spatial Strategies, the lack of local voices and sector expertise within the planning and decision-making process and the lack of clarity of how local councils intend to implement the new planning regime and finance or fund infrastructure in future plans.

Overall, there are many aspects of the current drafting that we support such as establishing long-term Regional Spatial Planning and intentions to increase certainty for future urban development and infrastructure projects. However, we have some concerns on how this will work in practice and have made several recommendations to ensure fair outcomes for all.

Read the full submission.


Sandamali Gunawardena

Sandamali arrived at Property Council with a Bachelor of Arts and Law, and experience as an advisor with the Employers & Manufacturers Association.

Conscientious and detailed, Sandamali leads our advocacy in the South Island and Wellington regions. She is also leading our work on the reform of the resource management and building systems and sustainability / seismic strengthening.

An excellent listener, Sandamali is in her element when facilitating stakeholders and members to develop our advocacy positions.

Katherine Wilson

As Property Council’s Head of Advocacy, Katherine is tasked with leading our advocacy campaigns at both a regional and national level.

Level-headed and engaging, Katherine has both a law degree from Otago University and an arts degree (majoring in politics) from Auckland University. With solid experience as a policy analyst and advisor in Wellington and Auckland, she has extensive networks and solid analytical skills.

Katherine is hugely dedicated, highly intelligent and committed to ensuring the voice of our members is heard at all levels of governance. She’s also relentlessly positive and enjoys a good chat.

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