Resource Management System: A comprehensive review

Beach scene

The Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of the resource management system with a focus on the RMA.

This is an opportunity to design a system that delivers better outcomes for the environment, people and the economy. To be successful, we need to design a resource management system that responds to our distinct environmental, social and cultural context.

This includes:

  • New Zealand’s physical characteristics and unique biodiversity 
  • the Treaty and the relationship between iwi/Māori and the Crown
  • the significant ways we all value and connect with the environment.

The Resource Management Review Panel is leading the review.

photo of Hon Tony Randerson QCKorihi ake ngā manu
Tākiri mai i te ata
Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea
Tihei mauri ora
Tēnā koutou katoa

I am honoured to chair the panel undertaking the comprehensive review of the resource management system. 

Much has changed in Aotearoa New Zealand in the period since the Resource Management Act was introduced in 1991.

Serious challenges have emerged in our ability to respond quickly to urban development pressures and to house our people in liveable communities. And we are facing a significant new threat in dealing with climate change. The natural environment has also suffered with deteriorating freshwater quality in our streams and rivers and diminishing biodiversity amongst many concerns.

Our understanding of the unique relationship between the Crown and Māori through the Treaty of Waitangi has developed.

There are now 70 pieces of settlement redress legislation with 76 Māori groups (iwi, hapu and various collectives). Treaty settlements have evolved through innovative arrangements which acknowledge the relationship Māori have to natural resources. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the principle of partnership inherent in the Treaty moves towards an everyday reality.

Successive governments have amended the Resource Management Act many times since its enactment and ad hoc measures have been adopted in an attempt to address the issues we are now confronting.

The time is ripe to undertake a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act and other significant legislation within the resource management system.

The Resource Management Review Panel has been established to undertake that task.

The overall aim is to improve environmental outcomes and enable better and timely development in urban areas and elsewhere within environmental limits. It is an exciting and ambitious assignment and an opportunity to undertake a thorough examination of the resource management system. This may well result in recommendations for far-reaching reform designed to achieve our ultimate goal of enabling all New Zealanders to thrive in a healthy environment both now and for generations to come.

The Review Panel has been engaging with stakeholders and iwi/Māori over the past few months since the release of our Issues and Options paper in November. The period for receiving submissions has now closed.

Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback, both written and verbal on the RM Review Panel’s Issues and Options Paper.  Feedback is an integral part of the process. My fellow Panel colleagues and I have also finished undertaking regional hui throughout the country in February, the feedback we receive will also be used to inform our thinking as we move towards delivering a final report to the Minister for the Environment. 

The final report to the Minister is now on track to be delivered in late June. It was originally scheduled to be released at the end of May but due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic response, it has been slightly delayed. 

Hon Tony Randerson QC
Chair, Resource Management Review Panel 

randersonHon 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.


Photo of Rachel BrookingRachel 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. 



photo of Dean KimptonDean 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.



photo of Amelia LinzeyAmelia 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. 



photo of Raewyn PeartRaewyn 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. 



Photo of Kevin PrimeKevin 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. 

Review scope

The scope of the review includes looking at the RMA and how it interfaces with 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. This has the potential to help us make better and more strategic decisions about resources and infrastructure over longer timeframes. 

Diagram showing what is and isn’t in the scope of the review

Blue areas are in scope and grey areas are not in scope.

Resource Management System review scope

Venn diagram showing the scope of the review. The RMA is within scope of the review, including how it interfaces with the Local Government Act, the Land Transport Management Act, and the Climate Change Response 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.

Review process

Determine issues and options to be considered by the review

The Resource Management Review Panel (the panel) has written a paper on issues and options to be considered and addressed by the review. 

The period for submissions on the issues and options closed on 3 February 2020.

Recommendations to the Environment Minister on how to reform the RMA

The review’s primary deliverable is a report outlining a proposal for a reformed environmental  management system. It will include some indicative legislative drafting for key sections of the RMA. The panel’s final report is due with the Minister for the Environment by the end of June.

RMA reform proposals next steps

Cabinet is responsible for making all decisions on how to progress review findings.  We will provide further updates as to when and how you can access the report along with a series of shorter summary documents. For any further information please email




  • 24 July 2019: Launch of the comprehensive review of the resource management system and the appointment of the Chair of the Resource Management Review Panel
  • 9 September 2019: Appointment of Resource Management Review Panel
  • 9 September 2019 to March 2020: Review panel engagement with stakeholders, iwi/Māori and expert reference groups
  • 9 September 2019 to May 2020: Review panel policy development process
  • 10 September 2019: Preliminary sketch of issues and options released
  • 12 November 2019: Issues and options paper released
  • 3 February 2020: Responses close on Issues and options paper
  • 30 June 2020: Final report due to be delivered to the Minister for the Environment
  • Next steps and engagement timeline to be advised


Issues and options 

The panel released its Issues and options paper in November 2019.

The period for submissions on the issues and options closed on 3 February 2020.

The panel previously released the Preliminary outline of the issues and options [PDF, 75 KB]. 

Terms of reference

See the Terms of reference for the Resource Management Review Panel [PDF, 806 KB].

You can also read the Draft terms of reference which were released earlier in the year. 

Cabinet’s decisions about the review 

See the folllowing Cabinet papers:

Ministers’ letters 

The Environment Minister invited other ministers to suggest what the review should cover. Some of their responses are available below. 

What is the resource management review?    

The review is a comprehensive review of the resource management system, focusing on the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). 

The review includes the interface of the RMA with the Local Government Act 2002, the Land Transport Management Act 2003 and the Climate Change Response Act 2002. 

The review will consider a new role for spatial planning, looking at plans and processes across the RMA, LGA and LTMA. This will include new ways to improve planning responses to the pressures of urban growth, and better manage environmental effects.

The review aims to improve intergenerational wellbeing by strengthening environmental protection and better enabling urban development outcomes within environmental limits.

Who’s doing the review?

The review is being led by the Resource Management Review Panel (the Panel). This group of experts will deliver reform proposals for public consultation, including indicative legislative drafting for key sections of the RMA, by mid-2020.

Hon Tony Randerson QC is chairing the Panel. The other members are:

  • Rachel Brooking
  • Dean Kimpton
  • Amelia Linzey
  • Raewyn Peart MNZM
  • Kevin Prime MBE ONZM.

What is the Issues and options paper about?

The Issues and options paper is the start of a conversation by the panel about issues facing New Zealand today: housing our people in liveable communities, dealing with climate change, deteriorating freshwater quality in our streams and rivers and diminishing biodiversity.

It is intended to stimulate thinking to assist in the panel’s task to deliver reform proposals.

How can I provide comment on the issues and options paper?

The period for submissions closed on 3 February 2020. 

What will the panel do with my comments?

Your comments will help inform the development of the panel’s proposals for reform. 

The panel will deliver a final report. This is due to the Minister for the Environment at the end of May 2020.  

How will the panel engage with iwi/Māori and key stakeholders?

The panel has been meeting with iwi/Māori and key stakeholders and will continue to engage with them over the course of the review. The panel will also work with reference groups on certain important topics of interest: the natural and rural environment, urban and built environment and te ao Māori.

How can I stay up to date on the work of the panel?

Keep checking back at the website where the panel will post updates and proactively release papers as they are finalised. 

When will decisions be made on the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)? 

This review of the resource management system will conclude with a proposal for resource management reform, including some indicative legislative drafting for key sections of the RMA This proposal will be provided to the Minister for the Environment in mid-2020. 

The panel’s proposals will be used to develop the Government’s proposals for reform that will be consulted on.