The Resource Management Act gives New Zealanders a voice on how our environment should be managed.
It means we can go to bed at night knowing that whatever wakes us, it won’t be the unexpected sound of bulldozers clearing the lot next door to make way for 30 new houses.
This community participation in decision making leads to better decision-making and community support of the outcomes.
How can the public currently participate in the RMA process?
- We can submit on the regional and district level plans that contain the objectives, policies and rules for environmental management of the local area.
- Developments that need consent under a plan, and which are likely to affect the public or the environment in more than a minor way, must be publically notified - giving those of us who are affected the opportunity to have a say.
How is the RMA under threat?
For the first time in the RMA’s history, the Government is proposing that plans could be created without public input.
- Under the proposed ‘streamlined planning process’ the Minister for the Environment would decide who gets to submit on plans, and also approves their final content.
- Under another proposed process, plans could be direct notified only to people who are directly affected – no provision is made for indirectly affected communities, or public interest voices representing the environment, heritage, and so on, to be heard.
- Other proposed processes severely curtail rights of appeal, either limiting them to appeals on legal errors, or entirely excluding any judicial oversight by the Courts.
What is Forest & Bird doing to protect the RMA?
Forest & Bird members are uniquely positioned as the country’s foremost community-based RMA experts. They rely on the RMA to defend their local environments from the adverse impacts of development.
Their support helps fund our legal team - one of the only not-for-profit RMA legal teams in the country, thus providing some professional balance against the virtually limitless legal resources of development interests.
We will be fighting hard to protect the RMA and the public’s right to speak up for their environment.