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RMA changes face first vote

A government bill to reform the Resource Management Act is expected to pass its first vote in parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

The Resource Management Amendment Bill includes streamlining Auckland's first unitary plan, a six-month time limit for councils to process consents for medium-sized projects, and easier direct referral to the Environment Court for major regional projects.

Councils will also be required to show they have carried out a thorough cost-benefit analysis in their planning decisions, including an assessment of the impact on local employment and the economy.

Local Government Minister Amy Adams, who is behind the bill, says that's because local-level resource management decisions can have far-reaching effects on economic growth and jobs.

The bill is expected to pass its first reading on Tuesday and be referred to a select committee for the public to make decisions.

The government is also planning further substantial reforms to the Resource Management Act, with a focus on avoiding unnecessary costs and delays, and uncertainty over decisions, along with freshwater reform.

Further details on those proposals will be released early next year.

Changes to the Resource Management Act are part of National's confidence and supply deal with the ACT Party, agreed after last year's election.