Resource Management Act

The RMA regulates the environmental effects of oil and gas activities on land and within the territorial sea.

The relevant district, regional and/or regional coastal plan determines whether a resource consent is required. An activity cannot occur, if the relevant plan classifies it as a prohibited activity, unless the plan is changed. Generally, prospecting is classified as a permitted activity (with controls) and mining as a discretionary activity, except in high value areas where non-complying or prohibited activity status may apply.

Coral (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

When an application is lodged, the consent authority will determine whether or not it should be publicly notified. A consent application must be publicly notified if the consent authority determines that its adverse effects on the environment are likely to be more than minor. This is likely to be the case for most mining proposals, so they should in most cases be publicly notified, enabling wide public involvement in the decision-making process.

When considering an application for consent, the consent authority must also have regard to the relevant provisions of the applicable statutory instruments made under the Act, for example the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS), regional policy statements and the regional coastal plan.

The NZCPS contains a number of policies that are relevant to applications for minerals activities, including:

  • It is a national objective to recognise that some uses and developments which depend upon the use of natural and physical resources in the coastal environment are important to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of people and communities 3515
  • It is recognised that the extraction of minerals is an activity which is important to the social, economic and cultural well-being of people and communities 3516
  • A precautionary approach is to be adopted towards proposed activities whose effects on the coastal environment are uncertain, unknown, or little understood, but potentially significantly adverse 3517
  • Protecting surf breaks of national significance by ensuring that activities in the coastal environment do not adversely affect the surf breaks 3518
  • Adverse effects on certain indigenous biodiversity, such as taxa which are threatened or at risk or naturally rare, must be avoided 3519
  • Adverse effects must be avoided in areas with outstanding natural character 3520
  • Adverse effects must be avoided in outstanding natural landscapes 3521
  • Require that subdivision, use or development will not result in a significant increase in sedimentation in the coastal marine area, or other coastal water 3522
  • In managing discharges to water in the coastal environment have particular regard to avoiding significant adverse effects on ecosystems and habitats after reasonable mixing 3523
  1. NZCPS 2010, Objective 6

  2. NZCPS 2010, Policy 6

  3. NZCPS 2010, Policy 3

  4. NZCPS 2010, Policy 11

  5. NZCPS 2010, Policy 13

  6. NZCPS 2010, Policy 15

  7. NZCPS 2010, Policy 22(2)

  8. NZCPS 2010, Policy 16

  9. NZCPS 2010, Policy 23(1)(d)

Last updated at 11:32AM on January 10, 2018