Real Change to building infrastructure

Thu, 21 Jul, 2022

“New Zealand needs to build its way out of the cost of living crisis, but in order to do that we need to scrap the Resource Management Act (RMA) and replace it with a fit-for-purpose set of environmental and urban development laws,” says ACT’s Infrastructure spokesperson Simon Court.

“Fundamental changes to our planning rules are long overdue. The 900-page RMA is the single biggest obstacle to building the infrastructure for a better New Zealand.

“It makes no sense to use the same law that protects Fiordland’s natural wonders to decide whether a paddock in Henderson can become a subdivision. It is a burdensome and costly piece of legislation that makes consenting a nightmare and has led to infrastructure that is outdated and not fit for purpose.

“Infrastructure providers spend almost $1.3 billion every year on consenting. That’s just for the consents, without building anything. For the average smaller project,  like fixing a dangerous road, consenting costs account for almost 16 per cent of the total budget.

“The Government’s reforms to the RMA repeat many of the mistakes of the past. They are not clear about who has the right to do what on their land and who has the right to object. That means projects will still be held up by years of hearings, appeals, consultants’ reports, and iwi consultations.

ACT’s replacement for the RMA would make it much easier to get building. We would:

  • Restrict the right to object to neighbours who are directly affected by the project
  • Allow neighbourhoods to vote to exempt themselves from some planning rules
  • Create a new Planning Tribunal to determine compensation for affected neighbours who hold out from negotiations to loosen planning rules
  • Reduce the need for consents when infrastructure projects use a Code of Practice to manage environmental effects, saving billions of dollars and reducing years of delay.

“This would work alongside ACT’s policy to incentivise and resource councils to provide infrastructure for new homes by sharing half of the GST levied on new housing construction in their regions with them.

“Our economic potential will only be realised by reducing government interference in our lives. ACT would enable New Zealanders to build and develop without being bound by the shackles of bureaucracy.”

The cost of living document can be found here. 

A cost of living crisis can be found here