Country:New Zealand
Policy status:In Force
Date Effective:1991
Date Amended:

Regularly amended: 2004, 2011, 2013, The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament on 26 November 2015

Policy Type:Policy Support>Strategic planning
Policy Target:Multi-Sectoral Policy
Agency:Ministry for the Environment
Legal References:Resource Management Act 1991 No 69; Resource Management Reform Bill 2012; Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (RMAA 2013); Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013; Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Act 2013;The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament on 26 November 2015.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is New Zealand's main piece of legislation that sets out how the environment should be managed.

When enacted, the RMA repealed 78 statutes and regulations, and amended numerous others, to provide a single piece of legislation for the management of land, water, soil and air throughout New Zealand. The RMA set out to create a more streamlined, integrated and comprehensive approach to environmental management. A review of local government at the same time provided legislators with an ideal opportunity to simplify the way the new legislation would be implemented. The RMA was ground-breaking legislation. At the time of its enactment, no other country had a mechanism for managing the quality of land, air and water under a single law. Since that time, many other countries have moved to develop integrated environmental legislation.

Under the RMA virtually all significant uses of land, air, coastal, or water-related resources are regulated by provisions of the RMA or by rules in regional or district plans or by decisions on consent applications. Plans are to achieve the purpose of the RMA which is 'sustainable management' of natural and physical resources.

Most rule-making and decision-making is expressly related back to the 'Purpose and Principles' section of the Act which contains the statutory definition of 'sustainable management'.

The National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation (NPS) was adopted in April 2011 to ensure a consistent approach to planning for renewable electricity generation in New Zealand by giving clear government direction on the benefits of renewable electricity generation and requiring local government to make provision for it in their plans.


The Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004 added emphasis to climate change and energy-efficiency issues in the Resource Management Act 1991.

The government has also proposed amendments to the RMA to "simplify and streamline" the statute, including a number of amendments designed specifically to reduce unnecessary time and cost of gaining consent for proposals of national significance such as renewable electricity generation facilities.

The resource management amendments of September 2013 include the:

  • Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (RMAA 2013);
  • Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013;
  • Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Act 2013.

These three Acts were previously known as the Resource Management Reform Bill 2012. The purpose of these reforms is to help create a resource management system that delivers communities’ planning needs, enables growth, and provides strong environmental outcomes in a timely and cost-effective way. It does this through: improving the resource consent regime; streamlining the delivery of Auckland’s first unitary plan; improving the information basis for local decision-making; improving the workability of the RMA through minor and technical amendments including changes relating to district rules for trees, environmental monitoring data and RMA emergency provisions.

Further changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) have been proposed that will build on the amendments made in September 2013. Early in 2015 the Government revealed its plans for a long-anticipated overhaul of the Resource Management Act, touting changes that will lead to more affordable housing and a better managed environment. The ten major changes the Government wants to include in its second phase of reforms in 2015 are: add natural hazards; recognise urban planning; prioritise housing affordability; acknowledge importance of infrastructure; greater weight to property rights; speed up plan-making; encouraging collaborative resolution; strengthening national tools; internet for simplicity and speed; national planning templates.


25 Energy Efficiency Recommendations Applied:Cross-sectoral, Strategies and action plans

Last modified: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 15:40:40 CET