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Reform of the Resource Management System: A model for the future

By Greg Severinsen
October 2019

Project phase 2: Working Paper 2

In its Reform of the Resource Management System project, the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) is looking, from first principles, at how we can manage our environment and resources better. We are asking why we do certain things, whether we should be doing them, and how we should be doing things in the future. The system is about protecting the environment, providing for New Zealanders’ social, cultural and economic wellbeing, and thinking about what legacy of natural and physical resources we leave to future generations.

The project is not just about the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) – the “system” is much wider than that, and includes many different laws, institutions, processes and incentives. The need for a rethink is also urgent, given the sub-optimal environmental outcomes we are currently seeing and the scale of future challenges before us. And it is not only us that are thinking along such lines; there has been crosssectoral and cross-party support for a comprehensive rethink for some time now, and the government has recently established an independent review group to explore the future of the resource management system.

The work’s second phase produced another extensive report that put forward a single preferred model for change.