You are here

Improving our resource management system

The Government is working to improve our resource management system. It is focusing on the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) – the primary legislation governing the use of our land, water and air resources.

The Government wants the RMA to:

  • support a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy

  • be easier for New Zealanders to understand and engage with.

The Government is approaching this in two stages.

Stage 1: Amending the RMA 

The Government is proposing several specific changes to the RMA through the Resource Management Amendment Bill (the Bill). The Bill includes a new freshwater planning process which will support implementation of the upcoming National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020. 

The Bill also addresses issues with:

  • resource consenting
  • enforcement
  • Environment Court provisions within the RMA. 

The Bill is available on the Legislation website

Public submissions will be called for when the Bill is referred to a select committee. Submissions can be made via the Parliament website.  

Information about the policy proposals in the Bill  

Cabinet materials

Briefing notes

See briefing notes

Regulatory impact analysis documents


Department disclosure statement

Departmental disclosure statement: Resource Management Amendment Bill [PDF, 178 KB]

Stage 2: A comprehensive review

The comprehensive review of the RMA will examine the broader and deeper changes needed to support the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. The aim is to improve environmental outcomes and enable better and timely urban development within environmental limits.

Cabinet’s decisions about the review are outlined in the Cabinet minute and Cabinet paper: Comprehensive review of the resource management system: scope and process.

Review scope

The Government proposes that the review focus on the RMA, including the ways it interacts with other key legislation such as the:

  • Local Government Act 2002 
  • Land Transport Management Act 2003 
  • Climate Change Response Act, to be amended by the Zero Carbon Amendment Bill. 

The scope includes spatial planning which has the potential to help us make better and more strategic decisions about resources and infrastructure over longer timeframes. 

Scope of the review - Blue areas are in scope - grey areas are beyond scope.


Resource Management review scope

Venn diagram showing the scope of the review. The RMA is within scope of the review, including its interactions with the Local Government Act, the Land Transport Management Act, and the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act. This includes spatial planning which works at the intersection of the RMA, the LGA and the LTMA. Areas of others Acts which do not intersect with the RMA are out of scope.

The Government is now consulting key stakeholders on the scope of the review. 

Review process

The review will be led by a group of experts called the Resource Management Review Panel (the panel). The panel will operate under a Terms of Reference. See the Draft terms of reference for the Resource Management Review Panel [PDF, 1.45 MB].

The panel will make recommendations on reforming the RMA. It will provide the Government with detailed policy proposals and indicative drafting of legalisation for key provisions. The panel will consult with stakeholders to ensure the proposals are informed by a broad range of expertise and perspectives. 

The Ministry for the Environment will work closely with the panel to develop proposals for public consultation. The Cabinet paper discusses the panel on paragraphs 67-76. 

Resource Management Review Panel

The Minister for the Environment has appointed the Resource Management Review Panel.

Hon Tony Randerson QC - Chair

Hon Randerson is a former lawyer and judge with extensive experience in resource management law. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He was subsequently appointed as a High Court Judge in 1997 and was made the Chief High Court Judge in 2004. In 2010 he was appointed to the Court of Appeal where he served until his retirement in May 2017. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Faculty of Law at University of Auckland. In 1990, Hon Randerson chaired the group that reviewed the Resource Management Bill before it was enacted as the RMA in 1991.

Rachel Brooking 

Rachel Brooking is a specialist environment and local government lawyer. She is a Senior Associate of law firm Anderson Lloyd. Rachel has a degree in ecology and previously worked for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Rachel is Chair of the Otago/Southland branch of the Resource Management Law Association. 

Dean Kimpton 

Dean Kimpton has been Chief Operating Officer at Auckland Council and Managing Director at engineering and planning consultancy AECOM. He is currently a member of the Building Advisory Panel for the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, and has previously been a board member of Infrastructure New Zealand. He is a qualified civil engineer and is a Past President of Engineering New Zealand.

Amelia Linzey 

Amelia Linzey is a leading planner. She is Senior Technical Director of the planning team at engineering and planning consultancy Beca. Amelia has been a member of the Advisory Board for the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council and an editor for the New Zealand Planning Institute’s official journal. 

Raewyn Peart MNZM 

Raewyn Peart has extensive experience in environmental law and policy. She is currently the Policy Director at the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) and was leading its Reform of the resource management system project. She was a member of the collaborative Sea Change - Tai Timu Tai Pari - Stakeholder Working Group which successfully prepared a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf, the first in New Zealand. 

Kevin Prime MBE ONZM 

Kevin Prime is of Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whatua, Tainui and Welsh descent. He is a beef farmer, forester, and conservationist based in Northland. He is an Environment Commissioner with the Environment Court. Kevin has served on committees and advisory groups pertaining to a wide range of issues, including Māori affairs, conservation, health and fresh water. 

Issues and options paper

The panel is developing an issues and options paper to progress thinking on the resource management system. We expect this to be released in late 2019.

See the Preliminary outline of the issues and options [PDF, 75 KB]

The outline focuses on issues at a high level, and is not comprehensive. It is intended to stimulate thinking on some of the key issues. The Review Panel Chair and the Ministry for the Environment worked on this together. It reflects the content of the Cabinet paper.

There will be opportunities to engage with the issues and options paper when the final document is released. 

Public engagement

The Government plans to consult with the public on the proposals once finalised.

Refer to the Cabinet paper for information about the planned approach to: 

  • public engagement – see paragraphs 77-80 
  • Māori engagement – see paragraphs 81-85.

  Find out more

Environment Minister's media releases [Beehive website] 

Cabinet agreed funding for the review through the sustainable future package in Budget 2019.  More information is on the Budget 2019 website here and here