United Call for Planning System Reform


The latest round of proposed changes to the RMA highlight the need for a complete overhaul of the resource management system in New Zealand says the Resource Reform NZ group.

The group is responding to the Environment Minister’s latest announcement of two-step RMA reform. The EMA, Infrastructure New Zealand, Property Council New Zealand, the Environmental Defence Society and BusinessNZ make up the group calling for a review of the entire planning system. 

“This latest round of amendments, aimed basically at unwinding the previous amendments made a little over a year ago, just reinforces the need to stop tinkering around the edges of the Act and put the whole system under the microscope to start delivering the environmental protections and accommodate the growth and economic development that New Zealand needs,” says CEO of EMA, Kim Campbell.  

“Despite the best intentions of many different Ministers over many years the system is failing to deliver for New Zealand and is no longer fit for purpose. This is a view that both Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the architect of the original act in 1991, and the Hon Simon Upton, who ushered the Bill into law, support,” says Business NZ CEO Kirk Hope. 

“The RMA and related legislation affects every New Zealander. It’s great to see the Minister recognising some of the problems the country is facing with the resource management system,” said Connal Townsend, CEO of Property Council New Zealand. 

“We welcome the indication the Minister is initiating a wide-ranging review commencing in 2019, and we look forward to seeing the details on the approach he will take. 

“It’s so important to look at the big picture. The challenges New Zealand faces relate to the entire planning system,  not just the RMA,” Mr. Townsend concluded.

Resource Reform NZ , a coalition of business and environmental interests, has been calling on the Government for some months now  to be bold and visionary by initiating a broad review covering the system as a whole.

“The system should be helping us to deliver the infrastructure New Zealand so desperately needs. But the complex maize of laws and the plethora of central and local government institutions, most of which lack the funding capability and capacity needed, are holding New Zealand back,” said Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive of Infrastructure New Zealand.

“Poor environmental outcomes, overloaded infrastructure and high housing prices are all evidence that the system is not working and needs fundamental reform,” he said.

“As a coalition, we support a broad and independent review that can cut through political sensitivities, accommodate the diverse perspectives of multiple stakeholders and provide outcomes that have wide political and stakeholder support,” said Kim Campbell.

“We are supportive of the Minister’s approach and look forward to engaging in a first-principles review of our central and local government institutions and our planning, funding and environmental management system.  This review should draw upon the experience and insight of business, environmental and community stakeholders,”  said Gary Taylor, CEO of the Environmental Defence Society. 


Note to the Editor: Resource Reform NZ is an alliance of EMA, Environmental Defence Society, Business NZ, Infrastructure New Zealand and Property Council New Zealand.


 Property Council New Zealand  Rachel MacGregor  021 439 026 
 Environmental Defence Society  Gary Taylor 021 895 896 
 Infrastructure New Zealand Stephen Selwood 021 791 209
 BusinessNZ Kirk Hope 027 475 0442 
 EMA Kim Campbell 021 585 181