Commons Perspective on the Resource Management Act: A Turning Point for Resource Management in New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
"New Zealand's Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) was part of wide ranging structural and policy reforms that commenced in 1984 and continue to evolve. Multidisciplinary interest in the implications of these reforms has generated a wealth of literature by social scientists in New Zealand and elsewhere. However, an important topic that has eluded significant comment is a commons perspective on the management of resources such as water, fisheries and wildlife. In the commons literature, these kinds of resources have been of central concern as common pool resources, and examining the various regimes for their management has driven much commons scholarship. However, in a number of New Zealand based studies of specific resources, in particular water and fisheries, a commons perspective has been at most an implicit assumption and not an explicit framework for informing theory or a tool for guiding practice. Our two objectives in this paper are to bring the implicit commons assumptions to the foreground by demonstrating how the commons perspective can assist in understanding natural resource management issues and responses that have emerged during the last few years in New Zealand; and to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the RMA for managing CPRs in New Zealand."
IASC, common pool resources, resource management, legislation, environmental law, environmental policy