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RMA replacement scheduled for 2022

Three new laws replace the old Act.

The Government has announced details of the coming repeal of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and its replacement with three new laws.

The first of these, the Natural and Built Environments Act, will provide for land use and environmental regulation. This is the primary replacement for the RMA and will be the priority for Government attention. The bill will be introduced into parliament before the end of this year and is due to pass into law by the end of 2022.

Under this new law there will be a mandatory set of national policies and standards to support the natural environmental limits, outcomes and targets specified in the new law. These will be incorporated into combined regional plans prepared by local and central government and mana whenua.

The government says that the current 100-plus RMA council planning documents will be reduced to about 14.

The two other laws that will be introduced are the Strategic Planning Act, which will address long-term regional spatial strategies, and the Climate Change Adaptation Act, which will address issues around managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation.

You can find more details here.




NZ carbon budgets released

Big implications for construction.

On 31 January the Climate Change Commission released three draft greenhouse gas emissions budgets covering the period up to 2035. For house building and retrofitting, the Commission suggests:

  • Much better energy efficiency. The Commission says that newly-built homes should be 35% more energy efficient compared to those built today. It suggests this can be achieved by upgrades to the Building Code and standards, pointing specifically to insulation requirements. It also says that existing houses should be upgraded to be more energy efficient.
  • Phasing out fossil-fuel appliances in new houses. It suggests that after 2025, all new space heating or hot water systems installed after 2025 should be either electric or biomass. There should be no new natural gas grid connections or bottled LPG connections after 2025.
  • City and town planning should change immediately to make it faster and easier for people to get around.

Public consultation runs until Sunday 14 March. You can find the report here.




EECA reviews hot water systems

Deadline for submissions is 1 March.

Water heating accounts for around 28% of energy use in New Zealand houses, but it is not always easy for industry or consumers to compare the options:

  • Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for electric and gas storage water heaters are over 20 years old and overdue for review. Other water heaters are not covered by MEPS.
  • There is no agreed or consistent way of comparing products across technologies or incorporating new developments in water heating.

EECA is looking to review its hot water policy so that:

  • regulations cover all hot water systems regardless of technology type
  • energy labelling gives consumers and installers better information
  • there is better alignment of standards and regulations across Australia and New Zealand with potential to use international standards and test methods
  • consumer purchasing behaviour will favour more energy efficient hot water products, reducing household energy bills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Stakeholders can give feedback on a discussion paper outlining the proposed method for evaluating the performance of hot water systems. The deadline is Monday 1 March 2021.

You can find more information here.




Window closing on weathertight claims

Less than 12 months to go.

Under the current rules, 2021 is the last year that claims can be accepted by the Weathertight Homes Tribunal.

A house that is the subject of a claim must have been built (or the leaky alterations completed) before 1 January 2012 and within 10 years of when the claim is brought. If a code compliance certificate was issued, this may be taken as the date the house was built.

You can find more information on the government’s Weathertight Services website here.