Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 1 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover To push his case, Peters has now replaced Ron Mark as NZ First’s representative on the committee and is noisily offering to work with National to get workable legislation through. The Bill also provides for a National Planning Template to promote consistency among local authorities and to reduce planning complexity. Other initiatives that Ministers have raised recently to facilitate residential development are the creation of Urban Development Authorities and an extension of the compulsory acquisition powers of the Public Works Act. Both were recommended by the Productivity Commission in its September 2015 report on Using land for housing. NPS on Urban Development Capacity The draft National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity is not as coercive as some Ministers indicated in the run-up to the NPS release and has been criticised as firing blanks rather than bullets. Probably the most demanding provision is that councils in high population growth areas must provide for a 15% to 20% buffer in their land release plans to be confident that they can meet demand without putting undue pressure on residential and business land prices. Submissions close on 15 July. Link: Chapman Tripp commentary on the draft NPS Resource management Troops assembling on RMA battleground? The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill will now be reported back on 6 September 2016. The initial report back date was 3 June. Submissions to the Local Government and Environment Committee have revealed deep concerns – at both ends of the spectrum, environmentalists and developers – at key provisions in the Bill. These include: • the proposed curtailment of consultation rights • the new Ministerial powers, and • the limitations on appeals. The committee is now awaiting a “high level issues paper” from officials to help it find a path through these areas. The Bill has already become a political battleground between the Māori Party and NZ First. The Māori Party has been given leave to sit in on the select committee meetings as a non-voting member, presumably to protect the front end iwi consultation rights which the party negotiated with National as the price of its support. Winston Peters has these in his sights, describing them as separatist and the result of “brown-mailing”. Ground Cover tracks legislative and regulatory reform in resource management, local government, planning and construction law. Our national environmental, planning and resource management team offers market-leading expertise and a seamless service for all your commercial projects, land use, infrastructure development and consenting needs. Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 2 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover Commissioner on Next steps for fresh water The Commissioner has also delivered a mixed verdict on the government’s Next steps for fresh water agenda. She is “generally supportive” of the proposal to require that stock on dairy and pig farms is fenced from waterways by July next year; the increased engagement with iwi; the tightening of the criteria around exclusions to the bottom lines in the NPS on freshwater management and the inclusion of the Macroinvertebrate Community Index (MCI). But she considers that the changes do not go far enough in many respects. Her recommendations include: • removing the word “overall” from the “maintain or improve” objective relating to water quality (on the grounds that implies an unders and overs approach) • including swimmability as a compulsory (but not universal) national value • including estuaries in the NPS • developing a strategic framework for setting freshwater objectives and limits, and • promoting a “serious discussion about water pricing”. Link: Submission Auckland Unitary Plan decisions – big review, short timeframes The Hearing Panel is expected to release its recommendations to Auckland Council on the Auckland Unitary Plan on 22 July. The recommendations will be publicly available on 27 July. We understand that the recommended version of the Unitary Plan will not include a detailed mark-up comparing the provisions to the notified plan. The summary document will also not address every submission point made. Therefore, determining how the recommendations address your interests is likely to require a full review of the provisions. The Council intends to deliver its decision on the recommendations on 19 August, with a 20 working day limited appeal period to follow. Mixed report from Environment Commissioner The Parliamentary Commissioner’s broad conclusions on the state of New Zealand’s environment: “Air quality is generally good in most places most of the time. Water quality is very good in undeveloped parts of the country, but is poor in many catchments. Much of this is a consequence of historic bush clearance on unstable soils and increasingly intensive farming…Our native plants and animals are in serious trouble with most of our iconic bird species in decline. When it comes to the state of our ocean, we simply do not know very much. We do, however, know that climate change is by far the most worrying environmental issue”. She has proposed a number of recommendations to improve the design, quality and cogency of the regular environmental reports which have been tasked by the government to Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment. Both agencies have said they will consider her report carefully with the aim of incorporating some of the ideas into the marine domain and freshwater domain reports due out this October and next April respectively. Link: Report Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 3 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover Local government Local Government Amendment Bill The legislation to ease the way for local authorities to coordinate and combine networks and resources across regions and towns, especially for large-scale infrastructure, has been referred to select committee. The Bill also provides for local authority led amalgamations and allows the Local Government Commission to initiate amalgamation proposals rather than await applications from others. Any proposal would, however, still need to be put to a ratepayer vote. Submissions close on 28 October 2016. Link: The Bill 10th tranche of SHAs for Auckland A further 36 new Special Housing Areas (SHAs) have been created and six existing SHAs extended in the tenth instalment under the Auckland Housing Accord as the Auckland Council and the government seek to keep up with Auckland’s rapid population growth (819 new residents each week) while redressing a legacy of extended market under-supply. The Act will apply until the Auckland Unitary Plan comes into force. Link: Press statement Local government pitching in on climate change Local Government NZ is developing a Climate Change Position Statement which will detail actions and policy changes needed to manage climate change across the different communities in New Zealand and will outline the next steps to be taken. The Statement is to be presented around mid-year. Kermadec Sanctuary under a cloud? Pressure on the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is growing with the Fishing Industry Association and Te Ohu Kaimoana challenging it in the court on the basis that it breaches the Quota Management System and the 1992 fisheries settlement. This will add to the difficulties the establishment Bill was already facing in Parliament with National reliant on the Greens for a majority. The legislation passed its first reading unanimously but Labour is now sitting on the fence while New Zealand First, Act and the Māori Party have withdrawn their support in protest at the National Party’s failure to consult Māori before announcing the decision at the United Nations. The report back has been deferred to 2 August. ETS two for one subsidy on the way out The two for one subsidy will be phased out in three equal instalments over three years, beginning on 1 January 2017. The change will net the government an expected $356 million over the next four years, based on a unit price of $12. The $25 cap will remain. Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 4 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover Construction Tickle along for residential infrastructure The PM announced at the National Party Conference a $1 billion contestable fund to help bring forward new roads and water infrastructure to support residential development. The fund will be open to councils from the highest population growth areas – Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch and Queenstown. Approvals may have conditions attached – e.g. faster processing of resource consents. Loans will be interest free but will have to be repaid within ten years. Link: Statement A future strategy for transport in Auckland The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) (comprising the Ministry of Transport, Treasury, the NZ Transport Agency, State Services Commission, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport) has recommended that some form of road user charges be considered to manage demand for Auckland’s roads. Auckland Council has long argued for this measure, but the fact that central government is willing to consider the option represents a significant breakthrough. ATAP’s emerging strategic approach has three broad components: • influence travel demand patterns (by ensuring land use decisions support an efficient transport network, maximising opportunities from new technologies to increase vehicle occupancy and throughput, and progressively introducing a variable network pricing system) • provide new infrastructural services, including stronger road, rail and public transport networks • make better use of existing networks (including through the use of intelligent transport systems providing real-time information). The final report is due with the government in August for release to the public in September. Link: Interim report Mandatory third party testing for building products? Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith has told RNZ that the government is considering whether there should be a mandatory requirement to have independent testing certification for any building products critical to building safety and integrity. The move is part of the government’s response to the fallout from the Steel & Tube mesh issue. Link: RNZ report Residential Tenancies Amendment Act This was passed in May and will come into effect from July 2019 for non-income related rent tenancies. It requires smoke alarms and insulation to the 1978 standard (rather than to the current 2008 standard). It does not set standards for ventilation or heating, an omission which has led to criticisms from tenants’ advocates and from Opposition parties that it does only half the job. Tenants will have 28 working days to challenge a retaliatory termination notice, up from 14 days now. Link: Legislation Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 5 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No. 2) This is a Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Labour Leader Andrew Little, which would set minimum standards (to be determined by MBIE) for both heating and insulation in rental properties. It would apply to all tenancy agreements made within a year of the Bill coming into force and by the end of five years for existing tenancies. The Bill was referred to select committee by a single vote majority on 4 May. It is identical to one promoted last year by the party’s housing spokesperson, Phil Twyford, which was defeated on first reading. The difference in the fate of the two Bills is that a vote drifted across the aisle from government to Opposition when National lost the Northland electorate to New Zealand First. Link: Bill Overseas investment office boost The Overseas Investment Office is raising fees substantially to fund a 25% increase in staffing to improve turnaround times and quality assurance. The changes are expected to be implemented mid-year. Fees will be increased by between 8.7% and 166%, depending on the application type. Later in the year, targeted exemptions from the screening regime will be introduced to clarify guidelines, reduce the cost to the investor and allow the OIO to focus its effort on the most sensitive applications. Announcing the moves, Ministers Bill English and Louise Upston were careful to state that they were the result of a review which began last year. This separates them from the inquiry into the OIO’s administration of the good character test after approving the sale of the Onetai Station to Argentinian brothers identified with environmental breaches in Argentina. Links: Statement, Chapman Tripp commentary Seismic strengthening legislation passed The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act categorises areas into low, medium and high seismic risk with timeframes for strengthening of 15, 25 and 35 years respectively. Priority is to be given to schools, universities and hospitals and to unreinforced masonry features that could fall onto a public thoroughfare in high and medium risk areas, which will have to be upgraded within half the general timeframe. Farm sheds, retaining walls, fences, monuments, wharves, bridges, tunnels and storage tanks are exempt as are most residential properties. If significant alterations are made to a building once the Act is in force, the earthquake work will need to be done as part of the project irrespective of whether there is time remaining under the deadlines set by the law. Link: Minister’s third reading speech Contents Resource management 1 Local government 3 Construction 4 Contacts 6 6 | July 2016 Environment, consenting and construction law update Gr und Cover Matthew Yarnell – Partner T: +64 4 498 6325 M: +64 27 441 6365 E: email@example.com BRian CLAYTON – Partner T: +64 9 357 9011 M: +64 27 436 0395 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Woods – Partner T: +64 3 353 0025 M: +64 27 436 0208 E: email@example.com Construction Contacts If you would prefer to receive this newsletter by email, or if you would like to be removed from the mailing list, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in this newsletter. However, the items are necessarily generalised and readers are urged to seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this text. © Chapman Tripp Catherine Somerville-frost – Partner T: +64 9 358 9813 M: +64 27 486 3309 E: email@example.com Jo Appleyard – Partner T: +64 3 353 0022 M: +64 27 444 7641 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Resource Management Paula Brosnahan – Partner T: +64 9 357 9253 M: +64 27 216 3952 E: email@example.com Ben Williams – partner T: +64 3 353 0343 M: +64 27 469 7132 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Luke Hinchey – partner T: +64 9 357 2709 M: +64 27 599 5830 E: email@example.com
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Ground Cover - Issue 11, July 2016
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