Principles

The Resource Management Act identifies a number of matters that are of special significance for resource management, which are set out in sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Act. These principles give “further elaboration” to the section 5 purpose of sustainable management 478  by stating particular obligations for those administering the RMA. 479  There are three sets of principles:

  • Matters of national importance - which decision makers must 'recognise and provide for'
  • Other matters - which decision makers must 'have particular regard to'
  • The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi - which decision makers are required to 'take into account'

The ‘statutory hierarchy’ means that a “stronger direction” is given in relation to matters of national importance (section 6) as compared to other matters (section 7). 480

The requirement to “recognise and provide for” matters requires the decision-maker to make actual provision for the listed matters. In contrast, the obligation to “have particular regard to” matters requires those matters to be given genuine attention and thought although they may be rejected. 481   The requirement to “take into account” the principles of the Treaty requires the decision-maker to consider the relevant Treaty principles, to weigh those up with other relevant factors and to give them the weight that is appropriate in the circumstances. 482

  1. Environmental Defence Society Inc v The New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd [2014] NZKS 38  at [25]. See also Genesis Power Ltd v Franklin District Council [2005] NZRM 541 at [53]

  2. Environmental Defence Society Inc v The New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd [2014] NZKS 38  at [26].

  3. Environmental Defence Society Inc v The New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd [2014] NZKS 38  at [26].

  4. Marlborough Ridge Ltd v Marlborough District Council [1998] NZRMA 73

  5. Bleakley v Environmental Risk Management Authority [2001] 3 NZLR 213 (HC). See also Trans-Tasman Resource Marine Consent Decision (June 2014), at [113]

Last updated at 11:26AM on December 11, 2014