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RMLA Awards Report 1999

Nominations for awards this year were again of a high calibre and varied in their subject matter and focus. The nominations have largely moved away from statutory planning documents to annual reporting requirements and are more innovative, non-mandatory contributions to policy and implementation activities.

The first award this year is for a State of the Environment report. There have been other nominations for State of the Environment reports in the past. However our perception is that this has been a developing skill amongst Councils and that as each document has been produced so has the collective knowledge about parameters to measure and indicators to use. There has also been an impression left by some of the earlier State of the Environment reports that they were more notable for what they did not or could not measure than what they did.

This year’s recipient has produced a document which is at once an attractive coffee table production and full of information on data on key environmental parameters. We understand that the public response has been extremely positive. We consider it to represent best practice for this type of document. The award goes to Horizons.MW (or for those that are not familiar with the trading name) the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council. (Jeff McNeil).

The second award is to the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Auckland. Over the last three years the Centre has achieved a number of landmark initiatives. These include:

  • The introduction of a specialist post-graduate Masters of Law in Environmental Law in 1996;
  • The founding of the New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law in 1997;
  • The staging of a successful international conference called ‘Environmental Justice and Market Mechanisms in 1998.

Its permanent staff which includes Ken Palmer, David Grinlinton, Klasse Bosselman, Tim McBride, Ben Richardson and Prue Taylor have also been responsible for a number of publications in their respective areas of expertise in environmental law. The Centre has a key objective of emerging as a regional centre of excellence in environmental law and policy in the Asia Pacific region. We consider that their contribution to the law, theory and practice of resource management in New Zealand has been outstanding and that they are well on their way to achieving their objective.