In October last year the promised streamlining of the Resource Management Act came into effect. Perhaps all of the property developers had already gone to ground, or perhaps it was because the need for change had been so long in the coming that the fanfare wasn’t great. There wasn’t a lot of noise about the changes.

With a lot less development activity now than in previous years it may take a little while to see the impact.

Changes are aimed at making the resource consent process work more smoothly and within the legislative timeframes. They attempt to address the frustration at Council’s use of s37 requests for further information and the duplication of processes.

The tools used to address these issues include the use of independent commissioners, direct referral or some matters to the Environment Court, changes to the notification process and a requirement the council can only stop the clock twice to ask for further information from applicants.

Let’s see how ingenious competitors become at managing the new rules aimed at preventing anti competitive behaviour. Now a trade competitor must be directly affected to be entitled to make a submission and they cannot make a submission that relates to trade competition. Nor can they stand behind a seemingly unrelated third party.