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New Zealand's Planning Revolution Five Years On: A Preliminary Assessment

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ABSTRACT It is now five years since New Zealand radically changed its environmental planning regime by introducing the Resource ManagementAct 1991 (RMA). The RMA swept away the entire tradition of town and country planning which New Zealand had inherited from Britain, replacing this with an integrated framework for resource management that attempts to emphasize efficiency, sustainability and public participation in the new system of development control. These new emphases of the RMA reflect the agendasof New Zealand'sgreen and New Right lobbies which gained political influence during the 1980s.However,the green and neo-liberal agendaswhich the RMA attempts to embrace are potentially contradictory. In this paper we investigate this potential contradiction through a preliminary assessment of the first five year's of the new legislation's implementation.In particular, we focus on the operational success, or otherwise, of three 'efficiency' innovations of the RMA, and consider the consequences of these for the environmental and public participation ideals of the legislation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1997

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