Resource Management Reform Bill

View the Resource Management Reform Bill

Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill is introduced under Standing Order 260(a). Standing Order 260(a) provides that an omnibus Bill to amend more than 1 Act may be introduced if the amendments deal with an interrelated topic that can be regarded as implementing a single broad policy.
It is intended to divide the Bill at the committee of the whole House stage so that—

  • Part 1 becomes the Resource Management Amendment Bill:
  • Part 2 becomes the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Bill:
  • Part 3 becomes the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Amendment Bill.

This Bill gives effect to the following policy proposals.
The Bill amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA), the Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010, and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. It delivers some fast, discrete improvements to the consenting regime, provides for the delivery of the first combined plan for Auckland, provides further powers to make regulations, and makes technical and operational changes.

These improvements are designed to precede larger-scale resource management reform that will deliver more substantive, system-wide improvements to increase the long-term resilience of the resource management system, including for freshwater management and the planning system more generally.
View the Resource Management Reform Bill

Tree protection provisions

There are many aspects of the Resource Management Reform Bill that should be of concern to all New Zealanders. Tree protection is just one example of issues that are of particular concern to the Character Coalition.

The Resource Management Reform Bill introduces new definitions to clarify the meaning of a tree protection provision introduced by the 2009 RMA Amendments.

The tree protection provision took effect in January 2012, and purported to remove ‘blanke’ tree protection rules (i.e. rules that applied to all trees within a district of a certain species and height, rather than individual trees or groups of trees).

However, the Bill overrules an Environment Court decision in 2011 and requires tree protection rules in plans to identify individual trees or a cluster, grove, or line of trees in a schedule to the plan by street address and/or legal description of the land.

The Bill effectively reinstates the intended effect of s 152 of the 2009 RMA amendments, by confirming that a tree protection rule in a district plan can only apply to a tree or group of trees that is specifically identified in a schedule to the plan by street address or legal description of the land.

It further confirms that a “group” of trees means a cluster, grove, or line of trees that are located on the same or adjacent allotments identified by precise location. Broad descriptions based on species, zone areas, general tree descriptions or named ecosystems will not suffice. For example, “all cabbage trees over 3 metres high in residential zones 1, 2 and 3” would not be sufficiently specific to be valid.

Eighty seven percent of New Zealanders live in urban areas and trees contribute significantly to amenity values in the urban environment. The proposed amendments make it hugely difficult to protect urban trees and would be a step towards a future of barren, lifeless cities.

Related reading:

Resource Management Reform Bill: New Zealand Legislation

Getting in on the Act: Ministry for the Environment
An Everyday Guide to the Resource Management Act Series 1.1:

Trees in the Urban Environment 2012: The New Zealand Arboricultural Association
Want to know more about trees and the new regulations?

Tree consent: Auckland Council
This page contains information about the rules for carrying out work on or around trees on your property.

Media Coverage

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