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National direction instruments under the Resource Management Act 1991

National direction supports local decision-making under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). This is provided using national policy statements (NPS), national environmental standards (NES), national planning standards (planning standards) and section 360 regulations.

This page includes:

Status of national direction instruments

National direction under development

This table provides a list of resource management matters the Government is developing national direction on. 

National Direction Instrument Lead agency Commentary Status

Proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL)

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) with support from MfE  

Public consultation undertaken from August – October 2019

 

Summary of Submissions report [MPI website] released on 30 July 2020. Further advice is being prepared.

 

If approved, the proposed NPS-HPL is likely to take effect in the first half of 2021.

Proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water (NES-DW)

MfE with support from Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and Ministry of Health (MoH) These amendments are part of the drinking water regulatory reforms being progressed through the Three Waters Review. Public consultation is likely to take place in mid-2021.
Proposed National Environmental Standards for Wastewater Discharges and Overflows (NES- WDO) MfE with support from DIA This proposed standard is part of the three waters regulatory reforms being progressed through the Three Waters Review. To be confirmed.
Proposed National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) MfE with support from Department of Conservation (DoC) Timeframe of the delivery of the NPS-IB to April 2021.

Submissions under review.

 

The NPS-IB is likely to take effect in April 2021.

Proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality 2004 (NES-AQ) MfE  

Submissions under review. 

 

The NES-AQ is likely to take effect mid-2021.

Proposed National Environmental Standards for the Outdoor Storage of Tyres (NES-OST) MfE  

Cabinet has approved the policy content and drafting of a National Environmental Standard for the outdoor storage of tyres (NES). 

 

The NES-OST is likely to take effect in 2021.

National direction being scoped

This table provides a list of resource management matters the Government is scoping the need for national direction on, and assessing whether a national direction instrument is appropriate to manage the issue. 

Note: until decisions are made by the Minister for the Environment, there is no commitment to delivering a national direction instrument on a particular resource management issue.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ISSUE Lead agency Commentary Status
Proposed Amendments to the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation (NPS-REG) Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) with support from MfE

The Government is developing amendments to this NPS in response to the Interim Climate Change Committee’s recommendations on accelerated electrification (PDF, 567 KB) [MBIE website] and the Productivity Commission’s recommendations on low-emissions economy.

Scoping
Heritage protection Ministry for Culture and Heritage with support from MfE   Scoping
Discharge to air of greenhouse gases MfE

A key change introduced by the Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 was to enable councils to consider discharges to air of greenhouse gas emissions, as the sections prohibiting councils from considering discharges are repealed (that is, sections 70A, 70B, 104E and 104F) – in force from 31 December 2021 (unless extended by an Order in Council).

 

National direction is currently being scoped to support local authorities making consistent rules for climate change mitigation.
 

Scoping

 

National direction currently in effect

The table below provide a list of national direction instruments currently in effect.

National Direction iNSTRUMENT lEAD Agency cOMMENCEMENT DATE COMMENTARY
National Policy Statements
National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) MfE and Ministry of Housing and Urban Development The NPS-UD came into effect on 20 August 2020. Replaces the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016 which came into effect on 1 December 2016.

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM)

Cross-government water taskforce

The NPS-FM will take effect on 3 September 2020.

This National Policy Statement replaces the NPS-FM 2014 (as amended in 2017), which came into force on 7 September 2017.

New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS 2010) [DOC website]
 
DoC with support from MfE

The NZCPS came into effect on 3 December 2010.

 

The NZCPS 2010 replaced the NZCPS 1994.

 

The NZCPS is the only compulsory NPS under the RMA. The RMA requires there to be a NZCPS at all times.

DoC undertook a review of the effect of the NZCPS on RMA decision-making in 2016/2017. See Review of the effect of NZCPS 2010 on RMA decision-making [DOC website].

 

The Report on the review was released in February 2018.

National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission 2008 (NPS-ET) MBIE The NPS-ET came into effect on 13 March 2008.

MfE and MBIE have completed a review of the NPS-ET and the NES for Electricity Transmission Activities under the RMA.

National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation 2011 (NPS-REG) MBIE The NPS-REG 2011 came into effect on 13 May 2011.

MfE and MBIE have jointly undertaken an evaluation of the effectiveness of the NPS by looking at how councils across the country have given effect to the NPS. 

National Environmental Standards
National Environmental Standard for Freshwater 2020 (NES-F) Cross-government water taskforce The NES-F will take effect on 3 September 2020.  
National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture 2020 (NES-MA) [MPI website] MPI with support from MfE and DoC   The NES-MA takes effect on 1 December 2020.
National Environmental Standards for Air Quality 2004 MfE

The NES for Air Quality came into effect on 8 October 2004.

 

The NES was amended following an evaluation and public consultation process over 2009 – 2011. The amended NES came into effect 1 June 2011.

MfE is proposing further amendments to the NES. Refer to National direction under development for further information.
National Environmental Standards for Sources of Human Drinking Water 2007 MfE with support from DIA and the MoH The NES came into effect on 20 June 2008.

The Government is reviewing drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services (The Three Waters Review). The Government is proposing amendments to the NES. Refer to National direction under development for further information.

 

MfE has completed a review of the NES.

National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities 2016 (NES-TF) MBIE

The NES-TF came into effect on 1 January 2017.

 

The NES-TF replaced the NES for Telecommunications Facilities 2008.

 
National Environmental Standards for Electricity Transmission Activities 2009 (NES-ETA) MBIE The NES for Electricity Transmission Activities came into effect on 14 January 2010. MfE and MBIE have completed a review of the National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission and the National Environmental Standard for Electricity Transmission Activities under the RMA.
National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health 2011 MfE The NES came into effect on 1 January 2012. The Ministry for the Environment undertook an interim review of the NES over 2014 and 2015.
National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry 2018 (NES-PF) [MPI website] MPI with support from MfE The NES came into effect on 1 May 2018. MPI, with support from the MfE are currently progressing a Year One review of the implementation of the NES.
National Planning Standards
National Planning Standards 2019 MfE

The National Planning Standards came into effect on 3 May 2019.

 

Minor changes were gazetted 4 November 2019, and came into effect on 2 December 2019. 

Minor changes have been made to the first set of National Planning Standards. 

Regulations under section 360
Resource Management (Transitional, Fees, Rents and Royalties) Regulations 1991 MfE 1 October 1991  
Resource Management (Exemption) Regulations 1996 MfE 30 August 1996  
Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations 1998 MfE 20 August 1998  
Resource Management (Infringement Offences) Regulations 1999 MfE 1 February 2000  
Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedure) Regulations 2003 MfE 1 August 2003  
Resource Management (Discount of Administrative Charges) Regulations 2010 MfE 31 July 2010  
Resource Management Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 MfE The Resource Management (Measuring and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010 have been amended. These amendments will take effect on 3 September 2020.  
Resource Management (Forms, Fees, and Procedure for Auckland Combined Plan) Regulations 2013  MfE 13 September 2013  
Resource Management (Network Utility Operations) Regulations 2016 MfE 29 September 2016  
Resource Management (Exemption) Regulations 2017 MfE 1 April 2017  
Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020 MfE These regulations will take effect on 3 September 2020. The stock exclusion regulations prohibit the access of cattle, pigs and deer to wetlands, lakes and rivers. These Regulations were developed as part of the Essential Freshwater work programme.
Reviewed:
19/08/20