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Environment Minister Announces Government Policy Priorities - Climate Change, Water and Urban Development 

by Rachel Devine, Clare Sinnott

Published: April, 2018

Submission: May, 2018


Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment has set out the Government’s environmental policy priorities for 2018, with climate change, water and urban development key areas of focus.

The Minister said it was time for New Zealand to once again be a world leader in climate change, and one way to achieve this was through a more comprehensive National Policy Statement (NPS) on water management. While the Minister recommended the final Havelock North report on water quality as important reading for practitioners, he did not comment on which recommendations he would adopt in a revised NPS.

On the Government’s urban growth agenda, the Minister referred to resilience, protection of elite and versatile soils and support for a circular economy. While he expressed his intention to reverse the worst of the 2017 changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) (particularly the restriction on appeal rights for subdivision) and wanted to speed up the time it takes to make RMA plans operative, the Minister said he was not convinced that the RMA needed an overhaul. He confirmed that he will be promulgating the first tranche of national planning standards initiated by the 2017 RMA reforms.

The Minister also expressed his support of the Environment Court and is considering expanding its role into other areas.


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