Return to home page

Resource Management Reform

About Resource Management Reform

The main law that determines how people interact with New Zealand’s natural resources is the Resource Management Act (1991) (RMA). This law sets out the rules around air, soil, freshwater, the coastal and marine area, as well as regulating land use and infrastructure. 

In 2019, the Government commissioned an expert panel led by Hon Tony Randerson to undertake a comprehensive review of the resource management system. That report, New Directions for Resource Management in New Zealand published in 2020 provided the blueprint of the new system to create better outcomes for both the natural and built environments and a more responsive system to meet the challenges New Zealand faces.

In February 2021, the Government announced it intended to replace the Resource Management Act with three new laws:

  • Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA), to protect and restore the environment while better enabling development, as the primary replacement for the RMA
  • Strategic Planning Act (SPA), to help coordinate and integrate decisions made under relevant legislation, through requiring the development of long-term regional spatial strategies
  • Climate Adaptation Act (CAA), to address complex issues associated with managed retreat.

The Government’s reform objectives include:

  • protect, and where necessary, restore the natural environment, including its capacity to provide for the well-being of present and future generations
  • better enable development within environmental biophysical limits including a significant improvement in housing supply, affordability and choice, and timely provision of appropriate infrastructure, including social infrastructure
  • give effect to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and provide greater recognition of te ao Māori, including mātauranga Māori
  • better prepare for adapting to climate change and risks from natural hazards, and better mitigate emissions contributing to climate change
  • improve system efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce complexity, while retaining appropriate local democratic input.

Latest updates

Project Timeline (tentative guide)


NBA exposure draft - submissions close

mid 2021


NBA and SPA Bills released

October 2022

CAA Bill released

Early 2023