Plan-making for Sustainability: The New Zealand Experience

Plan-making for Sustainability: The New Zealand Experience

As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, countries are increasingly focusing on sustainable development to ensure a better future for generations to come. New Zealand, known for its breathtaking landscapes and commitment to preserving its natural heritage, has emerged as a global leader in sustainable development. This article delves into the unique plan-making approach adopted by New Zealand and how it is driving sustainability in the country.

The New Zealand Approach

New Zealand’s approach to plan-making for sustainability is rooted in the principles of the Resource Management Act (RMA). The RMA provides a framework for managing the country’s natural and physical resources while promoting sustainable development. It emphasizes the integration of environmental, social, cultural, and economic factors in decision-making processes.

Key Components of the New Zealand Approach

  1. Collaborative Decision-Making: The New Zealand approach encourages collaboration between government agencies, local communities, and stakeholders. This ensures that diverse perspectives are considered, leading to more holistic and inclusive decision-making.
  2. Long-Term Perspective: The plan-making process in New Zealand takes a long-term perspective, considering the needs of future generations. This forward-thinking approach helps in identifying and addressing potential environmental and social challenges.
  3. Adaptive Management: New Zealand recognizes the dynamic nature of sustainability and the need for adaptive management. Plans are regularly reviewed and updated to incorporate new knowledge and respond to changing circumstances.

Benefits of the New Zealand Approach

  • Enhanced Environmental Protection: The New Zealand approach ensures that environmental considerations are at the forefront of decision-making, leading to better protection and management of natural resources.
  • Social Inclusivity: By involving diverse stakeholders in the plan-making process, New Zealand promotes social inclusivity and ensures that the needs and aspirations of all communities are considered.
  • Economic Resilience: The integration of economic factors in the plan-making process helps in fostering sustainable economic development and building resilience against future challenges.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How does New Zealand involve communities in the plan-making process?

    New Zealand actively engages communities through public consultations, hearings, and opportunities for written submissions. This ensures that local knowledge and perspectives are incorporated into the decision-making process.

  2. What are some notable sustainable development initiatives in New Zealand?

    New Zealand has implemented various initiatives, such as the Predator Free 2050 program aimed at eradicating invasive predators, the Million Trees program to increase urban green spaces, and the Zero Carbon Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  3. How does the New Zealand approach contribute to global sustainability efforts?

    New Zealand’s commitment to sustainable development serves as a model for other countries. Its innovative plan-making approach and emphasis on collaboration and long-term thinking can inspire and inform global sustainability efforts.


New Zealand’s plan-making approach for sustainability showcases the country’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and ensuring a better future for its citizens. By integrating environmental, social, cultural, and economic factors, New Zealand is setting an example for the world to follow. Through collaborative decision-making, long-term perspective, and adaptive management, New Zealand is shaping a sustainable future that balances the needs of the present and future generations.