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5. Consultation process

The Ministry for the Environment has prepared this discussion document in conjunction with other government officials and agencies. A technical working paper has also been published which provides greater detail on the problems, including an assessment of their likely scale and magnitude. Feedback on that can also be provided by submitters.

Hard copies of the discussion document are available, on request, by using the contact details provided below. The document is also available electronically on the Ministry’s website: www.mfe.govt.nz

5.1 How to make a submission

The Government welcomes your feedback on this discussion document. A series of questions are provided in this chapter to guide your feedback on the main options. However, broader comments are also welcomed. You may also choose to raise other issues and/or only respond to some of the issues or questions. To ensure your point of view is clearly understood and also to provide more evidence to support the Government’s final decisions, you should provide reasons for your answers or in support of your position.

To make a submission, you can either complete the online submission form (by downloading a writable version from www.mfe.govt.nz and then emailing it back to us) or prepare your submission in a separate document. The Ministry asks that submissions sent in hard copy also be provided in electronic form (Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word (2003 or later version) or a compatible format).

The closing time and date for submissions is 5:00pm on Friday17 December 2010.

After receiving submissions, the Ministry will evaluate them and may, where necessary, seek further comments. After this, recommendations will be developed for Ministers, and then Cabinet, to consider.

5.2 Contact for queries and submissions

Please direct all submissions and any queries to:

Freephone: 0800 RMREFORM (0800 767 336)
STD: +64 4 439 7794
Facsimile: +64 4 439 7700
Email:rmreform@mfe.govt.nz
Postal: RM Reform, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143

5.3 Publishing and releasing submissions

The Ministry may publish all or part of any written submission on its website, www.mfe.govt.nz. Unless you clearly specify otherwise in your submission, the Ministry will consider that you have consented to website posting.

In any case, contents of submissions provided to the Ministry will likely have to be released to the public under the Official Information Act 1982 following requests to the Ministry (including via email). Please advise if you have any objection to the release of any information contained in a submission, and, in particular, which part(s) you consider should be withheld, together with the reason(s) for withholding the information. The Ministry will take into account all such objections when responding to requests for copies of, and information on, submissions to this document under the Official Information Act 1982.

The Privacy Act 1993 establishes certain principles with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of information about individuals by various agencies, including the Ministry. It governs access by individuals to information about themselves held by agencies. Any personal information you supply to the Ministry in the course of making a submission will be used by the Ministry only in conjunction with the matters covered by this document. Please clearly indicate in your submission if you do not wish your name to be included in any summary of submissions that the Ministry may publish.

5.4 Feedback form

Submitter details

I am responding as (please select one):

An individual
Name:
Email:
Address:

On behalf of a group or organisation

Name of group or organisation:
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Chapter 2: Problems with the planning system

  1. Do you agree/disagree with the list of potential problems identified in the discussion document?

     

    Urban planning system

    1. Inadequate recognition of urban environment in the RMA.
    2. Complex planning system.
    3. Lack of consistency in decisions.
    4. Barriers to effective implementation.

    Infrastructure development

    1. Lack of clarity and consistency of national objectives and
      standards.
    2. Mixed access to designations.
    3. Complex and inflexible approval processes.
    4. Lack of robust and integrated decision-making.
    5. Inefficient and inadequate land acquisition process.

    Comment:

  2. Can you provide any evidence that supports or questions the assessment of the problems identified?

Comment:

  1. Are there any other problems that you think need to be considered?

Comment:

Chapter 3: Options for change: Planning and urban design

3.1 Recognise urban environment in the RMA framework

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 1 and 2 to more adequately recognise the urban environment in the RMA framework?
  • Option 1: Broaden definitions to include the urban environment by
    1. modifying the definition of ‘environment’ to specifically
      include the urban environment
    2. extending the definition of ‘amenity values’ so that it
      addresses the quality of the urban environment to a
      greater extent.
  • Option 2: Amend the RMA to recognise the benefits of a quality
    urban environment by making specific reference to it in:
    1. section 6 (matters of national importance to recognise and
      provide for) and/or
    2. section 7 (other matters for which to have particular regard).

Comment:

3.2 Greater national direction and clarity

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 3 and 4 to give greater national direction and clarity on the urban environment?
  • Option 3: Provide for the scope of the NPS to:
    1. include policies to require local authorities to provide an
      adequate supply of land to meet future urban growth demands
    2. include policies requiring the consideration of housing
      affordability in decision-making, and regional and district
      plans under the RMA.
  • Option 4: Rename the NPS from ‘urban design’ to the ‘built’
    or ‘urban environment’

Comment:

3.3 Spatial planning – enhancing it for Auckland and implementing it for other regions

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 5 to 9 for spatial planning in Auckland?
  • Option 5: Retain the current spatial planning legislation, which
    provides flexibility for the Auckland Council in developing and
    implementing the spatial plan.
  • Option 6: Simplify the planning framework for Auckland by:
    1. using the Auckland spatial plan to incorporate either the:
      1. the Regional Land Transport Strategy and Auckland
        Regional Policy Statement or
      2. the Regional Land Transport Strategy
    2. replacing RMA plans (ie, regional policy statement, regional
      and district plans) for Auckland with a requirement for a single unitary plan.
  • Option 7: Improve the effectiveness of the Auckland Spatial Plan
    by giving it an appropriate level of statutory influence on the
    RMA, 57 LGA 58 and LTMA 59 Plans by either:
    1. ‘giving effect to’ 60 the Auckland spatial plan or
    2. ‘being consistent with’ 61 the Auckland spatial plan or
    3. ‘having regard for’ 62 the Auckland spatial plan
    4. considering the Auckland spatial plan on a voluntary basis.
  • Option 8: Reduce litigation and improve the certainty of decisions,
    while providing safeguards during development of the spatial plan by either
    1. providing for:
      1. full appeal rights on the spatial plan or
      2. limiting appeal rights to points of law
    2. and/or providing for a statutorily prescribed consultation process
      instead of the Special Consultative Procedure under the LGA, that:
      1. ensures effective multi-party engagement in regional
        strategic direction-setting and/or
      2. improves iwi/Māori participation in resource management
        decision-making
    3. and/or during the development of the spatial plan, requiring an
      independent specialist review of the spatial plan to test its
      evidence base, robustness, affordability and coherence, and
      provide recommendations to the Auckland Council. The
      Auckland Council to publicly report its response to the
      recommendations of the review before it adopts the spatial plan.
  • Option 9: Provide for review of the spatial plan by
    1. amending the Local Government (Auckland Council)
      Act to require the spatial plan to be reviewed every three
      years, with defined responsibilities for the Government
      and the Auckland Council in the review process. Neither
      party can force a review in between the three-year period
    2. amending the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act to
      require statutory linkage with the LTCCP and require the spatial plan
      to be adopted at the same time or up to one year prior to adoption
      of the LTCCP.

Comment:

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 10 and 11 to clarify central government’s role in Auckland’s planning?
  • Option 10: Mechanisms for central government to influence
    the Auckland spatial plan:
    1. a GPS that sets out the Crown (or national) objectives for
      Auckland and/or
    2. require ministerial certification that the Auckland spatial plan
      complies with all GPSs, before final adoption by the Auckland
      Council and/or
    3. make more effective use of existing mechanisms to express
      Government priorities and direction, including NPSs and NESs
      and/or
    4. express central government priorities and objectives in a policy
      mechanism, such as the National Infrastructure Plan and/or
    5. use the spatial plan as the mechanism for engagement between
      central government and the Auckland Council.
  • Option 11: Central government using suitable and appropriate
    mechanisms to direct its entities, agencies and departments, and
    funding agencies to
    1. give effect to a GPS for Auckland and/or
    2. be consistent with the adopted Auckland spatial plan in
      decision-making and/or
    3. have regard to the adopted Auckland spatial plan in
      decision-making and/or
    4. reflect central government’s priorities and objectives for
      Auckland in their statements of intent.

Comment:

  1. Do you agree/disagree with the range of options set out in Option 12 to consider extending spatial planning with legislative influence to areas outside of Auckland?
  • Option 12: Regional spatial planning with legislative influence to be:
  1. limited to Auckland only or
  2. implemented on a voluntary basis by regions, but only available
    for those regions facing growth pressures and subject to
    significant levels of local and central government investment in
    infrastructure and services or
  3. mandatory in all regions facing growth pressures and subject
    to significant levels of local and central government investment
    in infrastructure and services or
  4. implemented on a voluntary basis by regions, for all regions or
  5. mandatory for all regions.

Comment:

3.4 Improve tools

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 13–20 that aim to improve the delivery of quality urban environments through effective implementation tools?
  • Option 13: Introduce a national template for local and regional plans.
  • Option 14: Stage the implementation of a national template plan for
    NPSs and NESs.
  • Option 15: Provide for the production of a combined NPS and
    NES as a single document.
  • Option 16: Establish a National Urban Design Panel.
  • Option 17: Establish a Government Architect.
  • Option 18: Rely on existing methods and processes to amalgamate
    land, including purchase, negotiation and joint ventures.
  • Option 19: Extend the scope of the Public Works Act to ensure that
    local authorities are able to compulsorily acquire and amalgamate land
    for major urban regeneration projects provided:
    1. some form of central government oversight is required as a
      safeguard and/or
    2. the power to compulsorily acquire land for urban redevelopment
      should be used as a tool of last resort and/or
    3. power to compulsorily acquire land should be limited to
      specifically defined works and/or
    4. Māori land is not able to be compulsorily acquired under
      any circumstances.
  • Option 20: Develop new tools for land assembly.

Comment:

  1. Are there any other options for planning and urban design that you think need to be considered to address any of the problems identified in chapter 2 or any alternative problems you have identified?

Comment:

  1. When decisions are taken to adopt a set of preferred options they will need to work together as a coherent approval system. Do you think your feedback helps to maintain a coherent system for planning, especially in urban areas?

Comment:

  1. Can you provide any data or other information to support the views you have expressed in this section?

Comment:

Chapter 4: Options for change: Social and economic infrastructure development

4.1 Greater national direction and consistency

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 1–3 that will improve the clarity and consistency of national objectives for infrastructure?
  • Option 1: Using NPSs, NESs 63 and other forms of national
    standards in a more systematic way through
    1. developing an agenda of proposed NPSs and NESs
    2. developing a greater number of nationally-consistent standards
    3. allowing certain aspects of infrastructure construction and
      operation to be conducted without the need to apply for
      approval, as long as it meets nationally-consistent standards
    4. taking into account where ‘reverse sensitivity’ 64>issues are, or could be, an issue.
  • Option 2: Making use of the options in Chapter 3 to support the
    efficient delivery of infrastructure: a) enabling the development of combined NPS and NES documents
    to communicate national priorities, so councils can more easily
    incorporate national direction into plans b) introducing a national template plan for local and regional plans.
  • Option 3: Amending sections 6 or 7 of the RMA to explicitly refer to
    importance of infrastructure and the benefits that derive from it.

Comment:

4.2 Changing access to the designation system

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 4–8 that seek to change access to the designations system ?
  • Option 4: Extend eligibility to a broader range of infrastructure
    types, particularly to ports and electricity generation.
  • Option 5: Define eligibility based on the ‘nature of
    development’ rather than the type of infrastructure.
  • Option 6: Narrow eligibility for full ‘requiring authority’ status 65
    and establish a new status of “limited requiring authority”:
    1. eligibility: a ‘limited requiring authority’ would make more of a
      distinction between public and private benefit of the infrastructure
      and/or whether the ownership or financing is publicly or
      privately provided
    2. approval process: approve ‘limited requiring authority’ status
      on a project-specific basis only, to reflect the purposes of each
      particular project

powers: a ‘limited requiring authority’ would have access to a
lesser range of powers than available to a full requiring authority.
Limits could be applied on one or more of access to compulsory
acquisition; protection against incompatible development; and
removal of decision-making rights.

  • Option 7: Change all references in RMA from ‘network utility
    operator’ to ‘infrastructure provider’.
  • Option 8: Amend definition of ‘infrastructure’ in the RMA
    so it reflects the full range of eligibility for requiring authority status.

Comment:

4.3 Improved approval processes: increased streamlining and flexibility

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 9–11 to introduce ‘concept designations’ as a way to support longer-term infrastructure planning?
  • Option 9: Eligibility for concept designations. Either:
    1. all infrastructure projects eligible for designations should
      be able to make use of concept designations or
    2. only a subset of projects eligible for designations should
      be able to make use of concept designations and/or
    3. concept designation status should be conferred on any future
      infrastructure identified in a statutory spatial plan.
  • Option 10: Level of detail required with application. Either:
    1. sufficient detail is required to identify a comprehensive envelope
      of future impacts or
    2. sufficient detail is required to identify high-level impacts only.
  • Option 11: Powers, protections and obligations provided to
    infrastructure providers:
    1. infrastructure providers would have the full range of powers
      currently provided through notices of requirement including
      access to PWA powers or
    2. infrastructure providers would have more limited range of
      powers than currently provided under notices of requirement,
      and limited PWA powers and/or
    3. a maximum lapse period of 10 years would apply or
    4. a longer maximum lapse period, such as 20–30 years
      would apply.

Comment:

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 12 to 15 that seek to streamline approval processes?
  • Option 12: Integrate multiple approval processes into a single
    approval process for a nationally significant infrastructure project.
  • Option 13: Remove duplicated processes through:
    1. providing for designations to be automatically ‘rolled
      over’ into updated district plans when provided for in
      a spatial plan 66and/or
    2. removing the current two-stage process (‘notice of
      requirement’ and ‘outline plan’) for approving development
      by establishing the development’s limits when the initial
      designation is approved and/or
    3. providing that where a concept designation is in place, ‘controlled
      activity’ consent status 67 would automatically apply to any
      subsequent resource consent applications.
  • Option 14: Establish consistent processes by:
    1. requiring clearer and earlier notification for individual
      landowners who may be affected by a compulsory acquisition,
      specifying the amount and location of their land likely to be
      affected to the extent that this is known; and the type of
      interest to be acquired and/or
    2. introducing pre-application consultation requirements for
      concept and project designations and/or
    3. requiring public hearings for any concept designation and/or
    4. providing non-statutory guidance to inform ‘notice of
      requirement’ and ‘outline plan’ processes and/or
    5. applying consistent statutory timeframes to all project
      designations.
  • Option 15: Improve investment certainty for resource consents.
    1. introduce a new process for re-consenting with the
      following features:
      1. confer rights to apply for an existing consent holder
      2. expressly allow renewal applications well within the
        existing consent term
      3. provide for the consented scale of activity to continue while
        the re-consenting application is being processed
      4. limit the scope of the new consent to the existing scale of
        activity within the same ‘effects envelope’ 68, where practical
      5. constrain the information required in an application to the
        effects of the existing operation, emerging/new effects, or
        emerging values or expectations. Applicants would not be
        required to provide information about the effects of the existence
        of a physical structure, such as the existence of a dam occupying
        a river bed
      6. constrain notification and consultation requirements to
        directly affected parties, rather than the public at large
      7. take account of Treaty settlement issues where they are
        relevant.
    2. When deciding on re-consenting applications, consider either:
      1. requiring consent authorities to confine their concerns to
        the effects of the existing operation, emerging/new effects,
        or emerging values or expectations. Consent authorities
        would not be permitted to consider the effects of the
        existence of a physical structure or
      2. allowing a consent authority to consider any matter it
        considers relevant and reasonably necessary to determine
        the application.

Comment:

4.4 Enhanced decision-making framework

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 16–19 to enhance
    decision-making for designations?
  • Option 16: For “limited requiring authorities” only require a
    decision-maker for designations to be independent of the
    infrastructure provider:
    1. for notices of requirement, remove the decision-making role
      from requiring authorities to make the decision-maker
      independent from the infrastructure provider and
    2. if the option to remove the outline plan stage is not adopted
      (option 13b), consider retaining decision-making for outline
      plans with the infrastructure provider and
    3. the decision-maker for concept designations, if sought by
      limited requiring authorities, would also be independent of
      the infrastructure provider and
    4. the significance of the project should determine the most
      appropriate decision-maker.

Comment:

  • Option 17: Ensure the objectives of infrastructure investment are
    appropriately recognised. Decisions on designations (both concept
    and project) should be based around the following considerations: Agree Disagree
    1. whether the project is consistent with the purpose and
      principles of the RMA
    2. the extent to which the project is consistent with any
      relevant NPSs, NESs, regulations and/or other nationally
      consistent standards
    3. the extent to which the infrastructure provider’s objectives
      are delivered by the project – guidance on these matters could
      be provided by relevant NPSs
    4. the extent to which any adverse effects of the option have
      been avoided, remedied or mitigated
    5. the benefits of the project
    6. the impacts of any conditions that are imposed on the delivery
      of the objectives of the project
    7. the extent to which the proposal is consistent with other
      planning documents such as a spatial plan, regional policy
      statement, national infrastructure plan, growth strategy, etc,
      and the need for consistency in approach across council
      boundaries
    8. the extent to which realistic options for co-location of
      infrastructure could be appropriate and have been considered.
  • Option 18: Ensure that national consistency is achieved where
    appropriate by making use of the identified options (1 to 3) to
    provide greater national direction on objectives and standards.
  • Option 19: Amend the RMA in relation to projects called-in by the
    Minister, to give greater status to the reasons for ministerial call-in.
  • Option 20: Support integration with spatial planning
    1. decisions about individual project or consent designations
      should seek to ‘give effect’ to infrastructure that is consistent
      with an existing spatial plan, where the effects of the
      development are reasonable given the scale of the project
    2. any applications for designations that are not consistent with
      an existing spatial plan would need to provide additional
      justification.

Comment:

4.5 An efficient compensation process under the Public Works Act 1981

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 21–26 that seek to provide adequate compensation under the PWA?
  • Option 21: Increase the current solatium 69 of NZ$2000.
  • Option 22: Link the value of the solatium to the length of time an
    affected landowner has owned the property.
  • Option 23: Widen the solatium provision to provide for a
    discretionary payment when acquiring land that does not include
    a dwelling used as a private residence.
  • Option 24: Introduce a hardship payment mechanism.
  • Option 25: Undertake further research into the accuracy, objectivity
    and reliability of current New Zealand valuation practices used to
    determine ‘fair market value’ based on the average ‘willing
    purchaser willing seller’ price settlement.
  • Option 26: Authorise requiring authorities to pay a premium of up
    to 10 per cent where there is demonstrable benefit to the requiring
    authority in securing early settlement.

Comment:

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 27–28 that seek to improve the acquisition process under the PWA?
  • Option 27: Allow a requiring authority to take early possession
    of a property by paying an affected owner the amount specified
    in the valuation it obtained.
  • Option 28: Require the requiring authority to obtain a further
    valuation on the affected landowner’s behalf if the affected
    landowner has not done so after a reasonable period.

Comment:

4.6 Transitional issues

  1. Do you agree/disagree with Options 29–31 for managing the transition of adopting any of the options?
  • Option 29: Introduce a sunset clause on existing designations that
    have not yet been used.
  • Option 30: ‘Grandfather’ existing designations into any new
    system for minor improvements or maintenance.
  • Option 31: Ensure that the next generation of district plans give due
    account to existing designations, where development and
    investment has taken place in accordance with the designation.

Comment:

  1. Are there any other options for infrastructure that you think need to be considered to address any of the problems identified in chapter 2 or any alternative problems you have identified?

Comment:

  1. When decisions are taken to adopt a set of preferred options they will need to work together as a coherent approval system. Do you think your feedback helps to maintain a coherent system for infrastructure approvals?

Comment:

  1. Can you provide any data or other information to support the views you have expressed in this section?

Comment:

Privacy Act 1993 and Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) declarations

  1. Please indicate whether you want to have your name on your submission when it is released.

     

    Yes. I give permission for my name to remain on my submission when it is released.


    No. Please remove my name from my submission before it is released and record my submission as ‘anonymous’ in any summary of submissions.

  2. Please outline if this submission contains commercially sensitive information that has been included to support your submission, but which you feel should be withheld under the OIA.

Comments:


57  Regional policy statement, regional plans, district plans.

58  Long-term council community plans.

59 Regional Land Transport Strategy, Regional Land Transport Programme.

60  ‘Give effect’ has a high level of influence, and requires implementation plans to actively implement the spatial plan without any flexibility.

61 ‘Be consistent with’ has a medium level of influence, and provides some flexibility on how implementation plans implement the spatial plan.

62 ‘Having regard for’ has a low level of influence, and provides guidance on how implementation plans implement the spatial plan.

63  National policy statements (NPS) and national environmental standards (NES) are explained in Appendix 3.

64  ‘Reverse sensitivity’ arises where a new activity sets up near an existing, lawfully established activity, and the new activity objects to the effects generated by the existing activity, thereby threatening the latter’s continued operation. Options to manage reverse sensitivity can impose additional costs on projects.

65  ‘Requiring authorities’ are explained in Appendix 4.

66  ‘Spatial plan’ in this context means a spatial plan adopted through the types of options set out in chapter 3.

67  ‘Controlled activity status’ means a decision-maker may impose conditions on a resource consent, but may not decline the application.

68 ‘Effects envelope’ refers to the type and magnitude of effects from an activity.

69  A solatium is paid as compensation for emotional loss when acquired land contains a dwelling used as a private residence. It is in addition to compensation for loss of value.