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With its legislative drivers, strong social agenda and commitments to the rights and obligations of indigenous Maori people, New Zealand is progressing with increased enthusiasm and momentum down a sustainable development path in which sustainable water and wastewater management are key parts. Legislation and programmes, such as the Sustainable Water Programme of Action relating to the management of resources and the environment both at central and local government levels have clearly enshrined in their purpose, that of both sustainable environmental management and sustainable development. Many organisations in the private sector are similarly adopting and implementing sustainable development principles.

There are two principal legislative drivers that are considered in their own right to be somewhat world-leading in approach, that require sustainable environmental management and sustainable development to be encompassed in all water and wastewater management in New Zealand. These are the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) which has as its purpose “the sustainable management of the natural and physical resources” and the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) which has a “sustainable development” driver that requires all actions and programmes to be considered in terms of the four well-beings (environmental, social, cultural and economic).

Working within the legislative framework, there are many tools, techniques and case histories available for furthering New Zealand's progress in sustainability. Fundamental to applying these tools is the all important need for effective consultation, “silo linking”, the integration of organisations and approaches and the practice of identifying natural capital and using ecosystem services.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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