Lindsay Gow’s thoughts on the RMA: 20 years on

Following on from his earlier contribution, Two decades of environmental policy – then and now, former Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary Lindsay Gow also shared his thoughts on the efficacy of the Resource Management Act since it was enacted in 1991, and on what tasks remain to be tackled in the area of environmental policy:

The Resource Management Act has been with us for nearly twenty years.  It was one of my biggest jobs.  I consider that, on balance, it has worked successfully.  It’s interesting to hear both pro and anti development people referring to the RMA as a legitimate means of making difficult resource decisions.

The RMA’s central notion of integrated resource management was ahead of its time in 1990.  Thanks to the establishment of regional authorities administering it on a whole catchment basis, the RMA has delivered some notable results. Continue reading

Lindsay Gow: two decades of environmental policy – then and now

Last year, Lindsay Gow retired from his position as Deputy Secretary of the Ministry for the Environment after more than two decades leading environmental policy work in New Zealand. envirohistory NZ asked Lindsay to share his thoughts on how New Zealanders’ attitudes towards the environment and environmental issues have changed over this period:

The first change has been in public and political opinion.

20 years and more ago environmental policy was very much the junior partner in the both government and public eyes.  Although the establishment of the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation came out of a reaction to the rapacious “think big” developments, it was not easy to get policy issues and ideas launched.  We found that the onus of proof was against, not in favour of environmental protection. Continue reading