Proposed changes to the Resource Management Act will compromise its principles and erode environmental protection, opposition parties say.
A report by a government-appointed advisory group, released on Thursday, says the law should be changed so councils will have to consider natural hazards and infrastructure development when they grant building consents.
The report suggests environmental protection shouldn't be more important than any other considerations when decisions are made.
Environment Minister Amy Adams says the government will consider the recommendations as part of its wider review of the RMA.
Labour's environment spokesman, Grant Robertson, says if the recommendations are accepted the words "preservation" and "protection" will be removed from the legislation.
"These changes fundamentally undermine the premise of environmental protection provided by the RMA," he said.
The Green's environment spokeswoman, Eugenie Sage, says the recommendations are weighted towards development and the government's agenda is to weaken the RMA.
ACT's John Banks is the only MP supporting the proposed changes.
He says they don't go far enough.
"Over the past 20 years the RMA - originally intended to make development easier - has morphed into a nationwide bureaucratic nightmare for home buyers, property owners and developers," he said.
Labour and the Greens acknowledge it's worth considering the natural hazards aspect.
Ms Adams says a main issue is liquefaction caused by earthquakes, which councils don't have to consider under current law when they allow houses to be built.
Liquefaction occurs when land is squeezed and toxic mud boils out the ground - a major problem in the Christchurch quakes.