Environment Minister Amy Adams says the 2012/13 Resource Management Survey shows the Government’s first phase of RMA reforms aimed at improving consenting processes are paying off, however further reform of our planning frameworks is still required.
The survey of how well councils are implementing the Resource Management Act shows that 97 per cent of consents were processed on time for the 2012/2013 period, compared with 95 per cent in 2010/2011.
“This is a vast improvement from the 69 per cent of resource consents processed on time in 2007/08,” Ms Adams says.
Labour and the Green party have opposed National’s reforms but the figures show the positive difference they have made.
Delays are expensive, draining money and energy.
Speeding up the process helps productivity, whether or not consent is given.
“The overall trend across the country shows that resource consenting is becoming more timely and efficient, with fewer staff processing more resource consents. I commend councils for this improvement in performance.”
However the survey finds that resources and staffing required for the current planning framework is a challenge, particularly given extensive consultation requirements and maintaining community input and interest in the often lengthy processes.
“It is not surprising that plan making is identified as an area where further focus is required, as this has also been identified by the Government as a key area for reform, says Ms Adams.
“Councils also highlight the challenges in the time taken to move through planning processes and the difficulty in achieving regional consistency due to the different stages and nature of District Plans.”
“The Government’s reforms are specifically aimed at improving decision-making at every level and a driving fundamental shift towards more proactive planning for what we need, and away from reactive decisions through consents and court appeals.”
The biennial survey has been undertaken since 1995 and monitors council’s performance in implementing the Resource Management Act.
The RMA survey provides information on the Council processes, rather than the social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes they contribute to.
This latest survey covers the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013 and all councils provided their data within the required timeframe and can be found at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/rma/annual-survey/index.html.
The RMA process is better than it was but further reform will make it better, reducing costs and delays for councils, applicants and anyone else supporting or opposing a consent.