Submission on natural and built environments and spatial planning bills

 February 2023

NZWEA welcomes the reform of the resource management system.

In its submission on the draft Bills the Association noted importance of the reforms with the new system being at the intersection of preventing environmental degradation resulting from inappropriate infrastructure development while enabling responsible development to mitigate and adapt to the environmental impacts of climate change.

The key points the Association made were:

  • We recognise that improvements have been made since the NBEA Exposure Draft with the introduction of an effects management framework and introduction of exemptions.
  • That the reforms are complex, far reaching with new concepts introduced.
  • The Reform must support decarbonisation to address climate change and biophysical limits to counter environmental degradation.
  • The proposed legislation therefore has to achieve the dual objectives of allowing for development and protecting the environment.
  • There is considerable uncertainty – nature of environmental limits, National Planning Framework and Regional Spatial Strategies are yet to be developed and there will be a lengthy transition period.
  • The wind industry is very concerned it won’t be able to reconsent or develop new renewable electricity generation (REG) at sufficient scale to meet decarbonisation targets.
  • Environmental limits will not be able to be managed and in certain cases, to achieve climate change targets, exemptions will be required.
  • What Association has sought included:
  • A National Planning Framework that provides clear direction to all purpose elements including how to resolve conflicts between environmental limits and systems outcomes.
  • Systems outcomes that are equally directive with a more ambitious climate change / greenhouse gas outcome.
  • Clarity over transitional provisions.
  • Provisions relating to renewable electricity generation also applying to connections to local networks.
  • A more defined process for obtaining exemptions (where necessary to meet climate change obligations).
  • Distributed generation included in the consent duration exemption.

In summary the Association highlighted that enabling renewable energy is a key climate change mitigation strategy that helps protect the environment and that decarbonisation of the energy sector over the next decade is of critical importance.

Click on the link below to read NZWEA’s submission in full.