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As I catch up with people in Kapiti and Horowhenua they often tell me that planning rules are just too bureaucratic.

That’s why we are bringing in 40 changes in the new resource management reforms which will help streamline the processes in the current Act, making it easier to build more homes and create more jobs. The changes will also reduce costs and bureaucracy while improving the management of our environment.

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill that has just passed contains significant gains that will reduce costs and get better outcomes, including:

- Faster, simpler plan making

- Thousands fewer consents required

- Fewer opportunities for appeals.

Councils and developers will be able to get houses consented and built faster, and a greater housing supply means more affordable housing.-

The reforms also reduce duplication with other Acts, ensure Councils better manage natural hazards, and increase legal weighting for property rights. This is critical for increasing housing supply because it makes it easier, faster and less costly to create new sections.

It’s important we increase housing supply in Kapiti and Horowhenua as our population has grown and is expected to continue doing so. Kapiti has been one of the faster growing districts and the Horowhenua District Council predicts nearly 1400 homes will be built by 2025.

There has been some misleading publicity about iwi participation agreements. The RMA has always required Councils to engage with iwi but provided little direction as to how. These amendments provide clearer guidance for councils.

The new arrangements will help Councils clarify which iwi need to be consulted, and on what issues. As with the other amendments this will deliver a more efficient process for all stakeholders.

All final decision-making remains with  Councils, as it has always been with no extension of legal obligations to consult on any specific plan or consent. A significant number of Councils already have these arrangements in place and they are proving to work well for their communities.

This is the largest shake up of the RMA since its inception in 1991 and will make a big difference to reducing the unnecessary delays and costs. The fact that Labour and the Greens opposed it because it reduces consultation requirements, appeal rights and makes a development too easy, just reinforces why the Government needed to pass it.

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