Straterra upholds the purpose of the RMA - economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainability.

Straterra has identified the following key issues with the RMA planning regime for the NZ minerals and mining industry:

  • The nature of exploration and mining – insufficient regard to the special characteristics of the sector in RMA plans and policy statements. Solution: National Policy Statement on mining, and a National Environmental Standard for exploration.

  • Directive provisions v. general provisions in RMA plans – objectives, policies and rules for protection from development in sensitive areas may trump pro development provisions. Solution: A case-by-case approach to mining projects, recognising the nature of mining (as set out in an NPS).

  • Minerals extraction zones – raises questions as to what happens with mineral discoveries outside of these zones. Solution: Ensure that mining is a discretionary activity outside of minerals extraction zones.

  • Sensitive areas – moves to prevent all development in outstanding natural landscapes, areas of significant biodiversity, heritage, riparian margins and coasts is a case of the regulatory pendulum swinging too far. Solution: A case-by-case approach to mining projects, recognising the nature of mining, with the bar set appropriately high.

  • Biodiversity offsets – the government guidance is unworkable concerning this tool for manging the effects of development on biodiversity. Solution: review the guidance with expert stakeholders, and place biodiversity offsets within a broader environmental compensation framework.

  • Regulatory duplication – RMA plan provisions cross over with maters covered in separate climate change, heritage, conservation, and hazardous substances legislation. Solution: the RMA reforms to introduce rules that prevent regulatory duplication.   


Freshwater management

The developing freshwater management framework is on a good track, with a note of caution on the design of the collaborative planning process. We support the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014, as providing clarity and flexibility when managing freshwater around the country. There is much more policy work to come on freshwater. Straterra remains actively involved with the Land And Water Forum.   

 

Heritage New Zealand

The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 is an improvement on the former Historic Places Act, by providing adequately for mining companies to gain approvals for affecting historic heritage and archaeological sites, and for integration with the RMA. That is important because mining today often occurs where mining was done historically - the leavings of the old timers are today’s heritage.