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Mackness, K., & Piercy, G. L. (2016). Changing parameters of consultation in local government: loss or gain for democracy? Presented at the New Zealand Political Studies Association Conference: Divergent Democracies, Conference held at University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, November 28-30, 2016.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10787
A key tenet of the Resource Management Act (RMA) when enacted in 1991 was to provide for significant rights of public participation in decision-making processes in district and regional planning processes. The Local Government Act (LGA) when enacted in 2002 continued to extend the mechanisms for public participation in decision-making processes through partnership arrangements and a greater requirement to consult. These provisions recognise the interests of the general public and those specifically affected, as well as enhancing the quality of local decision making. We argue that the reforms to the LGA and the RMA since the election of the National-led government in 2008 have created a policy context where these public participation rights could be eroded. Our textual analysis of the amendments to the legislation demonstrates that the current National-led government’s pursuit of greater efficiency is resulting in reduced consultation under the RMA, and potential opportunities for erosion of public participation to occur under the LGA – although conversely, the greater flexibility also provided may generate new democratic opportunities.