Effective guidance : does the current national formal guidance allow for consideration of Māori values and concerns withing the resource consent process?
Hancock, Christopher John
Since the inception of the Resource Management Act in 1991 there has been "over a decade of learning by central and local government, crown research institutes, and Maori groups" (Harmsworth, 2005, p5), in working with the RMA. One area of learning has been how to incorporate Maori values and concerns into planning, and in particular in resource consent processing. A feature of the learning process has been the production of guidance material by the Ministry for the Environment, the government agency with responsibility for the RMA, to inform, advise and demonstrate best practice. This body of work has been continually added to over the years, but there does not appear to have been a review or study to establish the effectiveness of the guidance within practice. This is of vital importance to the production of new guidance, as no lessons can be learnt from the existing material and subsequently used in the production of new. This thesis set out first to ascertain the extent of use of national guidance material relating to Maori participation in planning and addressing issues of concern to them, and secondly to establish the effectiveness of the guidance in achieving its goals. The research incorporated a review of literature on participation and guidance, and a content review of guidance material on this topic made publicly available by the Ministry for the Environment. Key Informant interviews were carried out with regional and district council planners, Iwi resource management specialists and planning consultants in three case study areas to ascertain the use of this guidance material in practice. Findings from the review of the literature, relevant guidance, and the case studies were used to determine the effectiveness of the guidance material. Surprisingly, there was almost no use and very little awareness of the national guidance material by practitioners. The national material does not lack for content, but the existence of many different publications on similar topics, and the fact that some were clearly outdated, may partly account for its lack of use. There was no evidence of unwillingness by practitioners to incorporate Maori values and concerns into the process, but this is informed by such things as locally produced guidance and training workshops rather than reference to national material. For many informants, the quality of relationships between councils and Iwi/hapu was the key to guiding good process, rather than external written material.
Advisor: Stephenson, Janet
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis