Seven ‘wins’ on the revised NBE and SP Bills

On Tuesday 27 June, the Environment Select Committee released their recommendations on the Natural and Built Environment Bill (NBE) and the Spatial Planning Bill (SPA) 

With Property Council New Zealand getting seven wins, in terms of recommended legislative changes, we are pleased to see that the hard work from our member taskforce and the team, did not go unnoticed. 

PCNZ’s wins in the NBE:

1. What we asked for: We were concerned that clause 6(2) created an obligation on local authorities to favour caution and proportionate protection of the environment as a tool to reject development. We asked for this clause to be deleted.

What we got: In response, the Select Committee deleted clause 6(2) and inserted clause 6B to partially remedy our concerns that caution was only to be favoured if decision-making information was not available. This remedied our concern that local authorities would use uncertainty to delay development, as new clause 6B(3) clearly states that delay on decision-making solely because of uncertainty is not appropriate.  


2. What we asked for: Strengthen section 6 “decision making principles” by moving clauses 804(1) and 804(2) “procedural principles” into section 6 to show the importance of timely performance of duty and function.  

What we got: Clause 804 moved into the new legislation as clauses 6A and 6B.  


3. What we asked for: Create more flexibility in setting environmental limits within clauses 37-46, to ensure that clause 44 (exemption clause) does not have to be consistently relied on as anticipated.

What we got: The legislation was amended to provide more clarity on the exemptions process and how it would work.   


4. What we asked for: Clause 102(2)(j) be strengthened to require public and private sector consultation which would ensure that the proposed development capacity of land for housing and business be “likely to be taken up” to meet the housing demands of a region. We were concerned that land supply would be available but may not be appropriate for development or restricted by local authority planning or zoning rules.

What we got: Clause 102(2)(j) be deleted and instead development capacity is placed as a system outcome in clause 5(7)(b). This will give it greater strength and ensure plans are aspirational and forward-looking. Clause 5(7)(b) was amended from promoting “ample supply” to “development capacity” to alleviate our concerns on land supply being able to be developed for housing and business purposes. This change may also better achieve the outcome of demand not outstripping capacity.

What we also got: Development capacity definition was amended to include both brownfield and greenfield development. The definition also includes “the capacity to meet the expected long-, medium-, and short-term requirements, including enabling housing choice and affordability.” The legislation defines long-term (between 10 and at least 30 years), medium-term (between 3 and 10 years) and short term (within the next 3 years).  


5. What we asked for: Amend the current process so that enduring submissions can be updated, carried over or replaced when required to resubmit (rather than requiring everyone to start from scratch).

What we got: Amended Schedule 7, Clause 20 so that enduring submissions can be updated, withdrawn, carried over or replaced. This would mitigate the risk of early submissions becoming overlooked or irrelevant.  


6. What we asked for: Delete the term “relevant concerns from the community” within Clause 205 as a factor that triggers public notification.

What we got: Removed not only this one term, but all subjectivity tests within consenting Clause 205(1)-(2). Made clear that public notification is not required for anticipated activity (cl203(1)) unless National Planning Framework plan states otherwise. Public notification is required for discretionary activity (cl203(2)) unless the National Planning Framework or plan states otherwise. 


Something new: An activity is an “anticipated activity” if the regional planning committee or the Minister is satisfied that (a) the activity does not breach a relevant limit and is consistent with relevant outcomes; and (b) the effects of the activity are generally known; but (c) the activity needs to be assessed to consider whether consent conditions are required to avoid, minimise, remedy, offset, or compensate for those effects.

An activity is a discretionary activity if it is unclear or unknown to breach a limit, will likely breach a limit, and needs to be assessed to avoid, minimise, remedy, offset or compensate for those effects.  


Spatial Planning Act 

7. What we asked for: The Regional Planning Committee to consult with the private sector, developers, or those who are likely to implement the strategy. 

What we got: The Regional Planning Committee must provide an opportunity for non-governmental organisations with an interest in the strategy or its implementation, including organisations representing industry or development sectors.  


Next steps 

The Bills will be read a second time before entering the Committee of the Whole House stage. It is likely that both Bills will be passed before the end of the legislative runway.  

If you would like to find out more, or wish to provide feedback to the Property Council team, please contact either Katherine Wilson or Sandamali Ambepitiya


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.

Sandamali Ambepitiya

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.

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