What and How to Monitor

  • Most councils monitor environmental results expected from policy statements and plans to assess outcomes. Methods are also important as they determine the implementation programme.
     
  • It is important to monitor whether the objectives of the plan or policy statement are being met. If the environmental results expected are not clearly focused on meeting the plan's objectives, then just monitoring EREs will not give you the information, it may be necessary to rewrite the EREs in the plan.
     
  • If your policy/plan structure is simple and clear and your provisions clear and focused, monitoring will be more manageable.
     
  • Ensure key issues, outcomes, processes, impacts and implementation are monitored (this means you need an integrated approach with other monitoring like state of the environment and consents monitoring).
     
  • Think about what information you need to decide whether any change in the environment is due to the effect of the policy statement/plan or to other factors beyond this.
     
  • Think about how to monitor and review permitted activities (eg, links to complaints, state of the environment monitoring).
     
  • Develop a system to trigger reviews of policy statements, plans and implementation programmes in response to the results of policy and plan monitoring.
     
  • Section 79 of the RMA requires councils to undertake a review of provisions in their policy statements and plans at least every 10 years. Given the large number of provisions in each plan, it would be good practice for councils to establish a formal monitoring and recording system to assist the statutory review process.