Regional Perspectives on Resource Policy: Implementing Sustainable Management in New Zealand
In 1991, New Zealand implemented new legislation to govern the management of natural resources and the environment. The Resource Management Act establishes sustainable management as the guiding principle for decisions in respect of the allocation and use of natural resources. The reform has also brought about the devolution of decision-making authority from central government to the local level. Underlying this shift to a 'bottom up' decision-making framework is the belief that it is communities of interest that should have the most direct voice in the allocation and use of natural resources. Regional policy statements will be amongst the most important mechanisms through which the principle of sustainable management will be implemented at the local scale. A sample of these policy documents is reviewed, with the aim to identify what specific regional interpretations are given to the principle of sustainable management, what particular resource management issues are considered to underpin the achievement of the principle and to identify what visions have been crafted for the future. An underlying objective was to identify whether characteristics of locality have influenced the interpretations of sustainable management.
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