Evaluating RMA performance : the role of Section 35(2) monitoring
Since the Resource Management Act (RMA) was enacted in 1991, there has been public concern that it is not meeting its goal (the sustainable management of natural and physical resources, Section 5). One possible reason for this concern, is that evaluation of the Act may not be providing the information necessary to indicate success. Section 35(2) of the RMA requires councils to undertake four types of monitoring which help promote sustainable management of resources. This report looks in depth at Section 35(2) monitoring, and whether it can provide the data necessary to assess whether the purpose of the Act is being met (Section 5). In assessing Section 35(2), criteria based upon core attributes of monitoring are developed. It is found that Section 35(2) is capable of providing the relevant data (although more integration/coordination of monitoring strategies is required). Even though Section 35(2) appears to provide the appropriate foundations for evaluating Section 5, at the current time the data necessary is not being produced. This is because councils are failing to meet their legislative requirements under Section 35(2). The underlying reason behind this failure appears to be a lack of effective national guidance/education. To address this lack of guidance the following recommendations should be implemented. 1) Ministry for the Environment should set up regionally based monitoring workshops for councils which: a. work through examples of how to set up integrated monitoring strategies; b. addresses council concerns by working together; and c. promotes the importance of Section 35(2) monitoring and how it relates to the national framework of State of the Environment monitoring and reporting. 2) Another 'Good Practice Guide' on Section 35(2) should be created which includes criteria for effective monitoring developed at regional monitoring workshops. 3) At least three 'Model Councils' should be developed to demonstrate how effective monitoring of Section 35(2) occurs on the practical level. 4) 4) Ministry for the Environment should make use of its current surveys under Section 24 as a means to monitor the implementation of the 'model councils', 'good practise guide' and 'regional workshops'.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsResource Management Act 1991; environmental legislation; environmental management; environmental monitoring; environmental reporting; natural resources; monitoring strategies; environmental evaluation
Fields of Research050206 Environmental Monitoring; 050205 Environmental Management; 050209 Natural Resource Management
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