Civil Contractors New Zealand made a submission on the Exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill, requesting greater recognition of the relationship between the built environment and natural environments, amongst other key issues.
CCNZ's submission focussed on the following points:
- Provide for natural and built environment outcomes
The draft provides for environmental outcomes but not development outcomes. There should be a mechanism to allow for interests, whether they are compete or not, to be considered.
- Reduce time and costs
There is no obvious mechanism to reduce the time and cost of granting resource consents for construction and infrastructure projects. The RMA hasn’t delivered on desired environmental or development outcomes and has resulted in significant costs and delay in time to construction and infrastructure projects.
It is not clear how this critical issue will be addressed through the proposed Bill. Mechanisms within the Bill that allow for acceleration of the planning process are needed. This should include a clear and effective conflict resolution process.
- Balance Outcomes
CCNZ supports a regime that protects and enhances the environment. Activities should minimise the impact to the natural environment and appropriate control measures should be put in place to ensure this is an outcome. However, the system needs to be able to assess the wider community benefits, the potential negative impacts and how potential negative impacts can be eliminated or controlled and mitigated. It is not clear how the proposed Bill will achieve this balance or control the relationship between natural and built environments.
The recent National Environmental Standards for Freshwater regulations are a good example of this lack of balance. The outcome was unintended consequences for industries such as quarrying, which underpin the construction industry and a number of the government key policy initiatives around well-being including housing, infrastructure and significant health and education building programmes.
The lack of a balanced view between the natural environment and the built environment and development have now seen Government departments working through to unwind some key provisions of the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater regulations.
- Reduce complexity
CCNZ is concerned that the introduction of the three Acts will add significant complexity to the development process, creating conflicting, overlapping and duplicated requirements will add cost and time. There is a critical need to ensure the three Acts work together efficiently and effectively.
- Consistent Pipeline of work
CCNZ members respond to the needs of clients in terms of the type of infrastructure they build and maintain. However, if the type of infrastructure and the associated skills and capital equipment requirements change there needs to be sufficient time for these skills to be developed and equipment secured.
Having a strong and reliable pipeline of work is critical to having the right resources at the right time. This substantially reduces costs though avoiding boom-bust cycles. The current RMA creates uncertainty, lacks responsiveness, undermines certainty that projects will go ahead as planned, and substantially extends the time and costs of projects.
- Natural and built environment outcomes
The current wording of the draft clause 8 focuses on environmental outcomes not natural and built environment outcomes.
- Public Works Act
The Public Works Act requires a review to allow for improved outcomes for construction and infrastructure.
- Defining National Significance
There is a need to define through a framework how “matters of national significance” are agreed upon.
CCNZ also provided specific feedback on clauses within the Bill's Exposure Draft.
Read CCNZ's full submission>>