Resource Management Act: RMA Link: Processes: Details

The RMAlink project aims to make community participation in all Resource Management Act processes more straightforward and less time-consuming. More effective participation from those with a concern for the environment will contribute towards improving environmental outcomes nationwide.

Processes: Details

Hosted by:

Wellington Community Network
Subject National Policy / Legislation Processes

Text Amendments to the RMA

Information on the 2005 amendments to the RMA can be found at

The Process for RMA Amendments
The process of amending the Act is generally as follows:

  1. Background policy analysis is carried out by MFE. Public submissions are called for on proposed changes. Other types of consultation, such as meetings with key stakeholders, may be undertaken at this stage.

  2. A Reference Group is appointed to consider submissions, and produce a report to the Minister. Public submissions may be sought on the Reference Groups report.

  3. The Minister considers the Reference Groups report, and submissions received. Cabinet discussions are held on proposals. Once Cabinet approval is gained, a bill is drafted.

  4. Draft Bill submitted to Cabinet Legislation Committee, and then full Cabinet, for approval. Draft Bill introduced, receives first reading in Parliament. MPs debate and vote.

  5. Bill referred to Local Government and Environment Select Committee for consideration and report. Public submissions are usually sought at this stage (an advertisement is placed in major newspapers), or the Committee may choose limited consultation, and seek submissions from key stakeholders only.

  6. Bill redrafted according to recommendations in Select Committee report. Second reading in the House, and full debate on all clauses. MPs vote on each clause.

  7. Third reading, final debate. (During the debates on second and third reading, the public may lobby MPs to accept or reject the bill.) Vote. Royal Assent (signed by Governor-General).

Making Submissions on Amendments.
Submissions on the initial stages before a Bill is drafted, are made to the Ministry for the Environment. Check the Ministrys website, or A downloadable form, or an e-form, may be available. Your submission should follow the format suggested.

After the first reading in the House, a draft RMA bill is referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for detailed consideration and reports. Public submissions are usually sought at this stage. Submissions to the Select Committee should be made according to the official guidelines, which are included in the references below. You may wish to appear before the Select Committee hearing, to speak and answer questions in support of your submission. Select Committee hearings are generally open to the public and the media.

Details of bills, dates that submissions are due, other business before select committees, and committee reports can be accessed at Bills before Parliament are available at some public libraries as paper copies.

Current Amendments Proposed

As at April 2006, a private member's bill proposed by Jeanette Fitzsimons, aims to repeal some provisions of the Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004. Currently a consent applicant's greenhouse gas emissions cannot be controlled under the RMA. This amendment is being proposed because as yet, there are no effective national climate change measures in place, leaving a legislative gap. Details of the Bill can be found on Parliament's website



Decisionmaker Publications (2003) A Decisionmaker 2003 Guide to Parliament and Government in New Zealand.
Decisionmaker Publications, Wellington. ISBN 0-908842-36-8
Comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to whos who, and who does what in the NZ government. Useful sections on parliamentary process - how laws are made, how a Bill becomes an Act, select committees, petitioning Parliament, and lobbying.
Available: Try your library, or

Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives (2000) Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee.
Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Wellington. 30p booklet.
Available: Free from the Office of the Clerk, or online at

Web-Based Resources

Resources: Up to date information about progress of Bills, Bills and other business before Select Committees, Select Committee reports, Petitions, links to online Acts and Regulations.