Reform or Transform Conference 2018
New Zealand’s physical and policy landscapes have morphed considerably since the Resource Management Act’s (RMA) inception in 1991 – as have the material issues that confront us today. The RMA was both ground-breaking and world-leading in terms of putting sustainability firmly at the forefront of a national economic growth strategy. Twenty-six years and twenty-one Bill amendments later, New Zealand now stands at a crossroads. We have strayed far from the RMA’s original philosophy of providing a one-stop, effects based system with a high degree of district and regional decision-making, grounded on public participation and appeal rights. Compounded by the most recent 2017 Resource Legislation Amendment Act, there is now a multiplicity of process options, increased national direction, additional complexity and reduced opportunities for public participation and appeals. In view of the current state of our waterways, soil quality and erosion, per capita emissions, wealth divide, housing crisis and climate-related weather events, New Zealand needs to consider whether it continues along the path of incremental reform; or whether it is time to identify a more appropriate framework for achieving resilience in the environmental, community and economic outcomes that we seek as a nation.
All conference presentations from “Reform or Transform” held in Wellington on 21-22 September 2018 can now be viewed here: