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Balancing Common Sense and Legal Process under the RMA: Protecting Communities and the Environment

By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group | May 18, 2023

When it comes to district planning, the fixed nature of rules often raises questions about their practicality. While it may seem unreasonable for a resource consent to be required for minor breaches, it is essential to consider the broader implications of such leniency. It is important to strike a balance between common sense and legal processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), emphasizing the need to protect communities and environment.

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Our History - How We All Play a Part in its Protection

By Kerryn Penn, Planner, Baseline Group, | May 05, 2023

New Zealand may not have towering cathedrals or ancient ruins, but that doesn't mean our history is any less valuable. From the stories of our indigenous peoples to the remnants of early European settlement, our cultural and natural heritage is a precious part of our identity. These treasures not only remind us of our past but also help shape our future. As our country continues to grow and change, it's more important than ever to protect and preserve these treasures for future generations.

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Councils are Increasing Residential Density, but why, who does it benefit?

By Kerryn Penn, Planner, Baseline Group, | Apr 21, 2023

It is a well-known fact that New Zealand has a shortage of affordable housing. Often the question asked is: “How has this happened?” Numerous academic reports over the years have attempted to dissect what we now refer to as the ‘housing crisis’.

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Burning crop stubble on your property?

By Thomas Holmes, Planner, Baseline Group | Apr 06, 2023

The quantity of stubble (crop residue) produced in New Zealand is around 1 million tonnes per year by the arable industry in New Zealand. About 700,000 tonnes of this is produced in Canterbury. Most crop residue in Canterbury is either baled, incorporated into the soil or left on the soil surface leaving around 300,000 tonnes that is burned in Canterbury each year.

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The Great Forestry Debate

By Oscar Savage, Graduate Planner, Baseline Group Marlborough | Mar 21, 2023

Plantation forestry have been promoted as a cure for many of our societal ills, with benefits towards alleviating the climate crisis, generation of income from marginal land, and providing economic benefits via widespread employment. However, recent extreme weather events have highlighted some of the flaws of plantation forestry. This has forced central governments to reconsider if widespread plantation forestry a land use deserving of our continued active support. Or is it time to manage the industry differently seeking better environmental outcomes for all?

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Make Your Additional Land Profitable Under the Selwyn Proposed Plan

By Rose Leighton, Planner, Baseline Group | Mar 08, 2023

With the rise of Airbnb in recent years there is an opportunity for residents of Selwyn to benefit by developing underutilised areas of their sections with self-contained accommodation units. However, visitor accommodation in small-scale standalone units, as promoted through Airbnb, is a recent endeavour. The district planning provisions for this style of visitor accommodation are not well provided for under the Operative District Plan. Despite this, if you are looking into jumping on Airbnb bandwagon, the good news is that it’s only a matter of time before this process becomes not only easier, but permissible under proposed planning provisions.

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Tiny Home Revolution May Not Save Costs

By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group | Feb 23, 2023

There is a myth that the government relaxing the rules around structures no bigger than 30 square metres means you can have a tiny home on your property. As with any change in rules it comes with conditions and limitations and in this case, does not extend to the obligations under the Resource Management Act, or development contribution payments under the Local Government Act. Furthermore, the change in rules under the Building Act does not extend to structures containing kitchens.

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Planning Permissions – Resource Consent or Plan Change?

By Kerryn Penn, Planner, Baseline Group | Feb 16, 2023

Are you looking to undertake a subdivision or development that is not permitted under your local District Plan? Depending on the scale of your proposal, and the extent of any non-compliances with respect to the District Plan, then you may require one of two permissions from Council; a resource consent or a private plan change.

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Changes to Resource Management Planning Signalled in Proposed Legislation

By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group | Feb 16, 2023

The recent release of the Natural and Built Environments (NBE) bill has outlined the changes intended by Central Government to better provide for environmental management and land use planning moving forward. This incorporates existing National Policy Statements and standards relating to freshwater and highly productive land resources.

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Wild Weather and Resource Consent Requirements

By Anna Bensemann, Senior Planner, Baseline Group Marlborough | Jan 23, 2023

Emergency powers under the Resource Management Act (RMA) allow for works to be undertaken without a resource consent in certain circumstances. With the wild weather hitting New Zealand recently, these provisions are sure to be exercised, but Section 330 of the RMA does not provide carte blanche ability to start moving debris or altering waterways by any person who considers there is a risk. The provisions contain key features to control who, and when, emergency powers can be exercised.

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