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About the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017

This page has information about the legislative changes made through the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017.

Link to the Act

Overview of the changes

The Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) represents the Government’s second phase of reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA). It contains close to 40 amendments and makes significant changes to five different Acts, consequently amending several others. This is the most comprehensive package of reforms to the RMA since its inception 26 years ago.

Together these changes aim to deliver substantive improvements to the resource management system to support more effective environmental management and drive capacity for development and economic growth. In particular the amendments aim to provide stronger national direction, a more responsive planning process, a streamlined resource consent process and better alignment with other legislation.

The RLAA amends five different Acts: the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), Conservation Act 1986, Reserves Act 1977, Public Works Act 1981, and Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2013. Consequential changes have also been made to other Acts and the Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedure) Regulations 2003.

For more information see: Overview of changes introduced by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 [PDF, 498 KB]


RLAA obtained Royal Assent on 18 April 2017. Some of the changes to the RMA take immediate effect. Other changes have transitional periods specified in the RLAA (eg, the majority of changes to the resource consent process come into force six months after enactment, on 18 October 2017).

The following checklist sets out the actions that councils need to take to implement these changes immediately and over time.

Council checklist: Implementing requirements from the Resource Management Amendment Act (2017)

RLAA fact sheets

The following 16 fact sheets provide information about the changes to the RMA, including specific timeframes that apply.

1 - New options for national direction

2 - Revised functions for RMA decision makers

3 - Changes to Maori participation in the RMA

4 - Changes to the standard planning track

5 - A new optional streamlined planning process

6 - A new optional collaborative planning process

7 - Changes to heritage protection under the RMA

8 - New consent exemption and fast-track processes

9 - Changes to resource consent notification

10 - New matters to consider for resource consents and designations

11 - Fixed charges must be published, and regulations may set fixed charge requirements

12 - Alignment of Conservation Act and Reserves Act processes with the RMA

13 - Changes to public notices, electronic servicing and submission strike out

14 - Changes to objections and Environment Court processes

15 - Changes to the board of inquiry process

16 - Changes to land acquisition under the Public Works Act

Other material

Planning tracks summary comparison

  • Comparison of the standard, streamlined and collaborative planning processes, including potential costs, benefits, opportunities and risks for each process.

Form to apply to the Minister for the Environment for a streamlined planning process

  • An application form for councils to submit their request to the Minister for the Environment to approve the use of the streamlined planning process, including information requirements.

Process map on joint reserve exchange and RMA process initiation

  • A flowchart for council staff to determine whether a joint hearing and decision-making process can be used for a reserve exchange request and RMA application (plan change request or resource consent application).

Step-by-step process for determining public notification and limited notification of resource consent applications

  • A flowchart showing new step-by-step process to determine whether to give public or limited notification of resource consents; introduced by RLAA and taking effect from 18 October 2017.

Resource consent process for fast track applications

  • A flowchart showing the resource consent process for fast track applications, intended for council planners, practitioners, and other interested parties.

Deemed permitted boundary activity process

  • A flowchart to assist councils with processing these applications; introduced by RLAA and taking effect from 18 October 2017.

A technical guide to deemed permitted activities

  • A technical guide for planning professionals to understand and successfully implement the changes introduced by RLAA and taking effect from 18 October 2017.

A technical guide to resource consent notification

  • A technical guide for consent authorities to understand and implement the changes to the notification provisions introduced by RLAA and taking effect from 18 October 2017.

Information sheets on resource management processes for general public

The following information sheets provide an overview of processes under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) for resource consents, deemed permitted boundary activities, and plan-making. These information sheets reflect changes made to the RMA through the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017.

  1. Information for applicants: Resource consents
  2. Information for applicants: Deemed permitted boundary activities
  3. Information for affected persons: Written approvals
  4. Information for submitters: Preparing a submission on a notified consent
  5. Information for applicants and submitters: Notified resource consents

Find out more

Media releases and speeches about the reforms

Advice to select committee

Regulatory impact statements

The following regulatory impact statements detail the original policy proposals of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.

Cabinet papers related to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill