Environment Minister Amy Adams says changes to the Resource Management Act are not resigned to force councils to adopt planning measures preferred by the government.
Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation” Ms Adams said the changes required Councils to look forward 10 years and plan for population growth over that period.
Referring to the Auckland housing shortage she said that the fact that planning hadn’t happened to date was a big part of the reason we had some of the demand issues we now had.
“If you look at the wording we're proposing, the obligation is simply that councils are required to look ten years out.
“So what do we expect our community is going to look like in size and in need, and provide for it.
“So rather than being reactive as demand hits them, they need to be looking forward and proactively thinking about and providing for what the community needs.
“How they do it is left entirely up to them under these reforms.”
Ms Adams also said the RMA reforms will reduce duplication and confusion among councils across the country with a new “national template” to set standards for planning.
“It simply doesn’t make any sense for 78 councils around the country to be coming up with their own and often inconsistent interpretations,” she said.
Greens MP Eugenie Sage said councils are better equipped to govern their community than central government, but Ms Adams said the Government is following through on what Ms Sage and other opposition parties have suggested to them in the past on how to manage the environment.
“Eugenie Sage and the Greens have for a long time been calling for a lot greater use of national policy statements, and national environment standards, which are exactly what the act has always provided, for central government to give much greater direction,” she said.