The legislative context

Resource Management Act

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is the principal statute governing the management of New Zealand landscapes. Part II of the RMA contains a number of directives regarding its protection and management of landscapes as follows:  

  • Section 6 (a): The preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment (including the coastal marine area), wetlands, lakes and rivers and their margins, and the protection of them from inappropriate subdivision, use and development;
  • Section 6 (b): The protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use and development;
  • Section 6 (f): The protection of historic heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use and development;
  • Section 7 (c): The maintenance and enhancement of amenity values; and
  • Section 7 (f): Maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment.

Section 6(e), which relates to the protection of 'the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral land, water, sites, wahi tapu, and other taonga', can also overlap with landscape matters.

In addition to the Part II matters outlined above, there are also national policies that impinge on landscape management. Those of particular relevance include:

To assist with the interpretation and implementation of the NZCPS 2010, the Department of Conservation has produced a number of guidance publications on specific NZCPS 2010 policies which is available on their website. Further information to help practitioners to understand the intent of the national policy statements on electricity generation and renewable energy generation and to guide their implementation is available on the Ministry for the Environment website in the following publications:

Other legislation  

Although the RMA is the primary legislation that guides landscape management, other legislation such as the Local Government Act 2002, National Parks Act 1980, Historic Places Act 1993, QEII Trust Act 1977, Conservation Act 1987 and Reserves Act 1977 also assume an important complementary role in assisting in the protection and management of landscapes (e.g. protection of outstanding landscapes contained within national parks; management of associated landscapes through reserve management plans). Responsibility for exercising the functions of these various Acts falls on a number of government departments and organisations, including the Department of Internal Affairs, Department of Conservation, local authorities, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the QEII National Trust.