What is national significance?

The Minister for the Environment may direct a matter to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court if it's, or is part of, a proposal of national significance.

There are many things the Minister may take into account when making the decision to direct the matter to a board of inquiry. This is set out in section 142 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Some of the things that the Minister considers

  • Whether the matter has aroused widespread public concern or interest regarding its actual or likely effect on the environment, including the global environment.
  • If the matter involves or is likely to involve significant use of natural and physical resources.
  • If the matter affects or is likely to affect a structure, feature, place, or area of national significance.
  • Whether the matter affects or is likely to affect or is relevant to New Zealand's international obligations to the global environment.
  • Whether the matter results or is likely to result in or contribute to significant or irreversible changes to the environment, including the global environment.
  • If the proposal involves or is likely to involve technology, processes, or methods that are new to New Zealand and that may affect its environment.
  • If the matter is or is likely to be significant in terms of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Whether the matter will assist the Government in fulfilling its public health, welfare, security, or safety obligations or functions.
  • If the matter affects or is likely to affect more than one region or district.
  • If the matter relates to a network utility operation that extends or is proposed to extend to more than one district or region.