This guide is for public and private sector resource management practitioners who prepare policy statements and plans under the Resource Management Act (RMA). It sets out good practice principles for drafting issues, objectives, policies, methods, and Environmental Results Anticipated (ERAs).
Under the RMA, local authorities use policy statements and plans to guide their management of and decisions about natural and physical resources.
The RMA is prescriptive about how policy statements and plans must be developed (the process), and what content the plans must include (the provisions). Sections 62, 67 and 75 set out the required contents of regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans. Each statement or plan requires the same provisions:
However, the RMA doesn't say how these provisions should be worded, how specific they need to be, or how they should be distinguished from one another. These details are matters of practice. Local authorities will use their discretion, depending on the local circumstances.
From a legal perspective, there may be no clearly "right" or "wrong" way to draft provisions. However, there are certainly different ways in which the requirements of the RMA can be met. Some of these ways may be identified as "better practice" than others.
This guide offers direction on what might be regarded as good practice. It doesn't provide stringent rules that will remove all variation in drafting style. Its main purpose is to give advice on a difficult area of resource management practice.
The guide explains:
The guide updates an earlier Ministry for the Environment Working Paper issued in July 1994. It draws on previous work done by the Ministry for the Environment, and on the work of government agencies, the Environment Court, practitioners, researchers, and local authorities over the past nine years.
The examples of drafting in this guide are a mix of hypothetical provisions and real provisions sourced from proposed or operative policy statements and plans.