RMA Reform and the New NBA

The Government is undertaking reform that will replace the Resource Management Act (RMA). Three new pieces of legislation were proposed:

  • Natural and Built Environment Act (NBEA) is the main replacement for the RMA.
  • Spatial Planning Act (SPA) will require the development of long-term regional spatial strategies.
  • Climate Adaptation Act (CAA) will address complex issues associated with managed retreat.

The following documents include the relevant submissions, legislation drafts, and reports that makeup a timeline of HortNZ's work advocating on this topic since February 2020.

Frequently asked questions

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) provides the legal framework for our resource management system – setting out systems and process for decision-making relating to the environment.

The RMA framework includes national (government) level policy as well as, at the local level – Regional and District Plans. Regional and District Plans determine whether an activity requires resource consent.

  • Central Government administers the RMA, provides national direction (through NPS and NES) and respond to national priorities. Making decisions under the RMA is usually the responsibility of local authorities.
  • District/City Councils manage the effects of land use, noise, subdivision. They have District Plans and issue resource consents.
  • Regional Councils manage discharges of contaminants to land, air or water, water quality and quantity. They have Regional Plans and issue resource consents (discharge permit, water permits).

There is a general consensus that the RMA has not sufficiently protected the environment, while also not achieving good outcomes for urban areas. The RMA has a focus on managing adverse effects, rather than providing positive direction for the management of the environment.

Find out more on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.

The NBEA replaces the resource management framework of the RMA (e.g. under the RMA - regional and district plans, and resource consents). Specific 'on-the-ground' implications are not yet clear. In Spring 2023, the new government indicated that they planned to repeal the NBEA and SPA.

Until new legislation is passed into law, the RMA continues to apply as usual (as we expect that there will be a transitional period).