This paper reviews recent changes in the direction of planning in New Zealand within the framework of the Resource Management Act (RMA). It is argued that the RMA enacted in 1991 is potentially a progressive planning statute. Its legislative intent embraces sustainability ethical values and norms as a basis for decision making in the context of a property owning democracy. However, the potential of the Act has been compromised during the last 10 years by attempts by the previous government and New Right interest groups to force a narrower interpretation of the Act's purpose as stated in Section 5. These attempts have been challenged by recent Court decisions.