Evaluating the environmental outcomes of the RMA

By Marie A Brown, Raewyn Peart, Madeleine Wright

28 September 2016

A summary document on the report can be downloaded here.

The purpose of this project is to explore whether the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) has delivered desired environmental outcomes for New Zealand. It is intended to complement wider assessments of the efficacy of the Act. The project is focused on gathering the best available information on the state of the environment in New Zealand and the influence of the RMA on that state. This evidence is intended to help enable an informed discussion on the future of the RMA.
The RMA was the first legislation internationally to enshrine the concept of sustainability in its overriding purpose which is ‘to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources’. Now in its 25th year, the profile of the Act remains high amongst observers of environmental and economic management and it is highly visible compared with other legislation.

Often amended and much-discussed, the Act’s impact on economic and environmental outcomes is a common topic of conversation, although more the former than the latter. Often missing from this discussion is an empirical element. The critical issue really is, has the RMA delivered on its environmental goals and if not, why not? This is the key question that this report seeks to answer.

Last updated at 4:25PM on September 28, 2016