Creating and Implementing National Green Plans: New Zealand Case Study

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New Zealand environmental judge and policy maker tells the story of his nation's environmental recovery.

New Zealand environmental judge and policy maker tells the story of his nation's environmental recovery.

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  • 1. CREATING AND IMPLEMENTING NATIONAL GREEN PLANS New Zealand Case Study Tom W. Fookes Director twfookes consulting limited
  • 2. NZ RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACT (RMA): GREEN PLAN AS LEGISLATION
    • Law relating to the use of land, air, and water
    • Purpose: promote sustainable management – natural & physical resources
    • Applies to government and private actions
    • Considers ‘use’ in terms of effects – positive or adverse; temporary or permanent; past, present or future; cumulative (time & other effects); high probability; low probability & high potential impact
  • 3. SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT
    • Managing the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources...
    • in a way, or at a rate, ...
    • which enables people and communities...
    • to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing, and...
    • for their health and safety...
    • while...
  • 4. Provisos for Sustainable Management
    • While –
    • Sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources...
    • To meet reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations, and...
    • Safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil, and ecosystems, and...
    • Avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of adverse effects on the environment
  • 5. Environment defined
    • Inclusive definition
    • - ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities
    • - all natural and physical resources
    • - amenity values
    • - social, economic, aesthetic and cultural conditions (as affect or are affected by the above)
  • 6. THE PLAN IN GREEN PLAN
    • Central government
    • National Policy Statements
    • National Environmental Standards
    • Local government
    • Regional Policy Statements – regional councils
    • District Plans – city and towns and rural districts
  • 7. Adverse Effects
    • Duty to avoid, remedy, or mitigate adverse effects
    • Abatement and enforcement order
    • Recognised Customary Activities
    • Express provisions subject to other government controls
  • 8. Content of Plans (General)
    • Policy Statements and District Plans
    • Hierarchy of...
        • Issues
        • Objectives sought to be achieved
        • Policies for the issues and objectives
        • Methods to implement the policies
        • Anticipated Environmental Results
  • 9. KEY AGENCIES: REGIONAL AND TERRITORIAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES...1
    • Regional Councils
    • regional policy
    • consents/permits for:
    • - use of coastal marine area
    • - use of beds of lakes and rivers
    • - water: taking, damming, or diverting (includes geothermal)
    • - discharge of contaminants into environment (water and air)
    • - noise
  • 10. KEY AGENCIES: REGIONAL AND TERRITORIAL LOCAL AUTHORITIES...2
    • Territorial Local Authorities
    • Objectives, Policies and Rules in a District Plan – restrictions on:
    • - use of land
    • - building bulk and location
    • - noise
    • - other adverse effects of use (e.g. Traffic)
  • 11. RMA: WHY DID IT HAPPEN?
    • Too many overlapping laws and regulations – need for rationalisation & integration (whole of environment approach)
    • Political acceptance there was a problem
    • Ministerial leadership
    • Imaginative law review and policy-making process – public buy-in achieved
    • Recognised importance of regional & local level identification of issues – objectives – policies – methods
    • Open public participation in all aspects of the Act
  • 12. RMA: HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
    • Public – private sector - community collaboration:
    • - identification of problems with status quo – free telephone calling + written submissions
    • - cross-interests working groups for major issues (e.g. Public participation, EIA, Consent process)
    • Cross-government agency collaboration – starting at Minister level + Core Group
  • 13. RMA: HOW HAS IT WORKED?
    • IMPLEMENTATION...1
    • The law versus its application
    • - over 17 years amendments to Act but overall thrust unchanged
    • - Local government practice fallen short – - * issues of capacity and commitment
    • * mismatch between issues - objectives - policies – methods
    • * rule-based - reluctance to apply other methods
    • * poor quality policy statements & plans
  • 14. IMPLEMENTATION...2
    • Effect of Market-based policy
    • - reliance on market processes to achieve purpose of RMA – failed
    • Original vision of RMA being undermined
    • - Reluctance to use NPS’s
    • - Dependence on rules
    • - Disenchantment – businesses
    • - Bi-partisan political support weakened
    • - Return to separate issue-based law (e.g. Climate change)
    • - EPA proposal
  • 15. IMPLEMENTATION...3
    • Role of Environment Court and Higher Courts
  • 16. SUMMING UP: IS GREEN PLAN LAW WORTH THE EFFORT?
    • Plus side...
    • Minus side...
    • In conclusion...