Collaborative Planning

Building capacity for guardianship

Useful Links:





Ministry for the Environment. This page provides information on recent research on natural resource governance
Link here >>





Land and Water Forum. A Common Direction for Water Management in New Zealand
Link here >>

Despite the innovative approach taken by the RMA in the early 90’s there has been increasing criticism. Many conflicts regarding resource use are settled well before the formal RMA process is engaged and if not, have often led to difficult, contentious and costly outcomes. So despite its innovation origins, the RMA has not been effective as a regulatory system that can encourage collaboration and the search for consensus as a means of resolving disputes. The result is that there has been a substantial shift to include more collaborative planning processes within the regulatory landscape**. These have come under the names of adaptive management or co-management, adaptive governance and co-governance, and collaborative governance.

This shift is very relevant to upcoming collaborative challenges for councils in the freshwater area, with the government’s proposals to implement the Land and Water Forum (see link) recommendations including a collaborative process to be used as an alternative to the existing First Schedule consultation process in the RMA. See also the Government’s response to the Land and Water forum recommendations. This is at:

The ‘effects’ based approach of the RMA has also been criticised: Working on a case by case basis it does not allow us to take into account the cumulative effects of developments in context, i.e. in relation to where we want to be in the future.  We need a vision of where we want to be, and against which we can test the progress being made.

This part of our website provides further information on the development of a vision, examples of collaborative planning processes, particularly those of adaptive (co)-management and collaborative (co)-governance and then some basic work on shared understanding and the style of conversation that can enhance the development of shared understanding fundamental to collaborative planning.

**(See Pennington J (2013) Collaborative Planning: Do we need flexible legislation and regulation for fresh water planning? Ministry for the Environment: Discussion Document. Wellington New Zealand)

Key idea: Working to develop a culture of collaboration will build our capacity for guardianship - improve outcomes and reduce the costs associated with prolonged conflict.


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