The Minister for the Environment maintains an active overview and monitoring role of the implementation of the RMA. This page outlines the Minister's responsibilities and powers under the RMA.
Responsibilities of the Minister for the Environment under the RMA
Under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Minister for the Environment is responsible for:
- recommending the making of national policy statements and national environmental standards
- deciding whether to issue national planning standards
- deciding whether a matter is of national significance, and deciding whether to use any of the ministerial powers of intervention, which include the power to call in proposals of national significance and referring such proposals to a Board of Inquiry or the Environment Court for decision
- deciding whether applications for requiring authority and heritage protection authority status should be approved
- deciding whether applications from councils to use streamlined planning processes should be approved
- deciding whether an application to make or amend a water conservation order be referred to a special tribunal, and deciding whether or not to recommend that a water conservation order be issued
- monitoring the effect and implementation of the RMA, including any regulations in force under it, national policy statements and water conservation orders
- monitoring the relationship between the functions, powers and duties of central government and local government
- monitoring and investigating matters of environmental significance
- considering and investigating the use of economic instruments.
The Minister for the Environment has additional powers to:
- investigate and make recommendations on the exercise or performance of local authorities’ functions, power or duties
- direct a regional council to prepare or change a regional plan to address a resource management issue in a region or direct a territorial authority to change its district plan to address a resource management issue
- request a local authority, a heritage protection authority or a requiring authority to supply information at no cost to the Minister, if they hold that information and it is related to their functions, powers or duties under the RMA.
The Minister also has limited powers to:
- appoint people to carry out the functions of a local authority if the Minister considers that it is not performing to the extent necessary to achieve the purpose of the RMA
- make grants and loans to help achieve the purpose of the RMA.
Responsibilities of the Ministry for the Environment
The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for administering the RMA, including investigating complaints on local issues, and developing national policy statements and national environmental standards. The Ministry cannot reverse local council decisions, it can only write to a local council about the complaint.