Ecologic Foundation
  Issues we're working on

Collaborative Governance - Resolving the tensions between democracy and sustainability

Successful performance by resource management institutions requires the resolution of tensions between the short-term pressures of democratic processes and the long term requirements of sustainable management.

Short-term financial pressures, community desires for more jobs or for freedom from regulation, and politicians’ re-election ambitions all potentially conflict with the statutory requirement to safeguard long term sustainability. Conversely, decision-making bodies sometimes respond to popular perceptions of environmental risk by hindering development that would be sustainable.

Costs, delays and uncertainties of using the Resource Management Act have become an issue over recent years. In many regions there has been disappointing performance with means of implementation, and with environmental outcomes.

Ecologic’s research identifies reforms to enhance the cohesiveness and effectiveness of New Zealand’s resource management system. This involves comparative studies of decision-making for resource management in New Zealand and the Nordic countries.

Working with political scientists from the University of Helsinki, we used comparative case studies to illuminate why the Nordic countries have been able to make progress on solving environmental problems in a more rapid, more consensual and more durable way than New Zealand.

As background for these case studies, we prepared a comparative analysis of the different legal and institutional frameworks for resource management in Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Some preliminary results were reported to the “Beyond the RMA” conference in May 2007 - which can be downloaded below.

Results from all of the case studies were reported at our Northern Lights conference on 21 August 2007 in Wellington.  Conference presentations

Draft reports

Colloborative Governance on environmental policies affecting rural landowners - comparing Nordic and New Zealand practises - June 2007

Research reports

Comparison of Resource Management Frameworks in NZ and Nordic Countries - June 2005.

Beyond the RMA - Reflections on the Nordic experience - May 2007

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