Tuesday, 23 April 2024 11:54

RMA amendments 'will be a relief to farmers'

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland. Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland.

The Government’s announcement that a Bill to amend the Resource Management Act (RMA) could be introduced in Parliament next month will be a relief to farmers, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

B+LNZ says this is something it has long been asking for as the current rules have been problematic and impractical in their one-size fits all approach. 

“This announcement will be a relief for many farmers who were faced with an unnecessary regulatory burden and significant on-farm compliance costs. As always, details matter and we are eager to see the details that follow this announcement.” Says Kate Acland, chair of B+LNZ. 

“Farmers need clarity and certainty to make on-farm investments and changes to their farming systems safe in the knowledge that regulations will be science based, practical and enduring.”

“Farmers have made significant environmental improvements in the last few years by excluding stock from waterways and better managing the risks of winter grazing. 

“They’ve proven that this can be done by applying practical common sense on-farm management without the need for heavy handed, one-size fits all impractical regulations. The governments promise of a more practical and enabling framework will support continued improvement in these areas.”

RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop today outlined the first RMA Amendment Bill which will make urgent changes to the resource management system.

 "RM Bill 1 focuses on targeted changes that can take effect quickly and give certainty to councils and consent applicants, while new legislation to replace the RMA is developed,” Bishop says.

 “This Bill will reduce the regulatory burden on resource consent applicants and support development in key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. These sectors are critical to rebuilding the New Zealand economy.”

 Five changes will be included in the Bill, these will:

  • Make it clear that, while the NPS-FM is being reviewed and replaced, resource consent applicants no longer need to demonstrate their proposed activities follow the Te Mana o te Wai hierarchy of obligations, as set out in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM).
  • Amend stock exclusion regulations in relation to sloped land.
  • Repeal intensive winter grazing regulations.
  • Align the consenting pathway for coal mining with the pathway for other mining activities in the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB), NPS-FM, and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F).
  • Suspend the NPS-IB requirement for councils to identify new Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) for three years.

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