Belief and Environmental Decision-Making: Some Recent New Zealand Experience
Two key piece of New Zealand's environmental legislation - the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 - contain references to Maori cultural and traditional relationships with land and other treasures (taonga) and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. In some recent controversial cases where Maori spiritual beliefs have been among the relevant environmental risks and effects argued under these provisions, decision-makers have wrongly test the veracity of the beliefs, rather than focus on the risks to and effects on the people holding the beliefs. More broadly, the cases also show how the practice of including reference to matter of belief in what are effectively lists of relevant - and frequently competing - considerations in environmental legislation tends to result in these matters being unlikely to determine decisions in situations where they are uncompromising.
Publisher: Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary
Keywords: Environmental Law; Resource Management; Treaty of Waitangi; Maori; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article