Managing demand in the coastal marine area
A number of methods are available to councils under Part 7A of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to manage demand for space in the coastal marine area (CMA). The aquaculture legislative reforms retain a number of the existing Part 7A provisions, and also provides additional methods for councils.
While the changes to Part 7A of the RMA have been driven by the aquaculture reforms, they can apply to any activity in the CMA – with the exception of the Minister responsible for Aquaculture’s powers.
‘First in, first served’ remains the default process for allocating space in the CMA and under the law apply to allocations of space for aquaculture activities. Any departure from first in, first served requires specific provision in a regional coastal plan or the approval of an allocation method by the Minister of Conservation at the request of a regional council. Public tendering is the default alternative allocation method, unless a council requests another method for managing demand.
The legislative reforms retain a number of existing provisions in Part 7A of the RMA while also providing councils with some additional methods. Both existing and new provisions are explained in this guidance note.
Purpose of the changes
The changes to Part 7A of the RMA are intended to:
- Make it easier for councils to apply allocation methods other than ‘first in, first served’, and respond to and manage the demand for space in the CMA in a timely manner.
- Enable councils to ask for an extension of time when processing applications to enable them to put measures in place to better manage high or competing demand.
- Provide for applications for coastal permits for the occupation of space in the CMA (and associated applications) to be processed and heard together where this would help assess and manage cumulative effects and/or enable more efficient processing of applications.
Changes to part 7A of the RMA
- Regional councils may ask the Minister of Conservation to approve an allocation method via Gazette notice – this applies to any activities in the CMA.
- Regional councils may ask the Minister responsible for Aquaculture for a stay on new applications for consents to occupy space for specified aquaculture activities.
- Regional councils may ask the Minister responsible for Aquaculture to direct that aquaculture applications be processed and heard together.
Unchanged provisions in part 7A of the RMA
- Councils remain able to include provisions in their regional coastal plans and proposed regional coastal plans to address the effects of occupation in the CMA, and to manage competition for space.
- There are no changes to the provisions around the characteristics of authorisations, and public notice requirements and other provisions relating to running a public tendering process.
- The Minister of Conservation retains the power to direct that an allocation of authorisations proceed or not proceed in order to give effect to Government policy or to preserve the ability of the Crown to give effect to its historic Treaty settlement obligations.
View technical guidance on the reforms.