Schedule 1 process for the Regional Plan
The Resource Management Act 1991 outlines in Schedule 1 the process that Greater Wellington must follow when reviewing a Regional Plan. Following this process, Greater Wellington began reviewing the five current Regional Plans, to develop into one integrated Regional Plan, in 2009.
An outline of the process Greater Wellington is following is detailed below.
Schedule 1 specifies the legal requirements and timeframes for Greater Wellington around the public notification, submission and decision-making process. A full copy of the schedule can be found here. For guidance on the Schedule 1 process, Forest and Bird has a useful, though older, resource available to the public.
1. Consultation during the plan review process
Greater Wellington consulted with the public and key stakeholders such as mana whenua iwi, local and central government agencies, industry, community and interest groups. This included seeking comments on draft versions the plan review. There is no statutory time-limit on this stage.
2. Public notification and submissions open
Greater Wellington publically notified the proposed Plan on 31 July 2015. This public notification begins the formal Schedule 1 process.
The public is given 40 working days (until 5pm Friday 25 September 2015) to submit their feedback on the notified “proposed” plan.
All rules in the proposed Plan have immediate legal effect.
3. Submissions close and are summarised
After the close of submissions, Greater Wellington staff will summarise all submissions into a report. The availability of this report is publicly notified and all submitters will be directly notified.
4. Further submissions open
Within 10 working days of this report being notified, some people may make a further submission. Details of who can make a further submission can be found here.
5. Council staff evaluation and recommendation
Greater Wellington staff produce a report which includes an evaluation of and recommendation on each submission. The report is provided to all submitters and to a Council-appointed hearing panel.
The Council may also initiate discussions between submitters with the purpose of resolving disagreements (prehearing meetings).
Submitters and further submitters who indicated they wish to be heard on their submissions are able to speak to the hearing panel about their submission.
The hearing panel deliberates on all the information they have received before making decisions on submissions.
8. Notice of decision
Greater Wellington notifies the decisions on submissions. The plan is amended in accordance with these decisions but retains its “proposed” status.
Within 30 days of the notice of decision, anyone who made a submission on the proposed Plan may appeal the decision of the council on matters related to their submission by lodging an appeal with the Environment Court.
The Environment Court initiates mediation between Greater Wellington and appellant parties for the purpose of resolving disagreements.
11. Court decisions
The Environment Court hears any outstanding appeals. Once resolved, the Court releases its decision on appeals and the plan is amended as directed.
12. Plan made operative
Following the resolution of any appeals either by mediation or through a Court decision, the final step in the process is for Greater Wellington to make the plan “operative”.
At this time the five currently operative regional plans are revoked.