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1 N.Z. J. Envtl. L. 165 (1997)
Resource Management Act 1991: A Greener Law for Water, The

handle is hein.journals/nzjel1 and id is 171 raw text is: 165

The Resource Management Act 1991:
A Greener Law for Water?'
Nicola R Wheen*
This article explores the impact of the enactment of the Resource
Management Act 1991 on the allocation of New Zealand's natural waters.
The specific issue is whether the Act has the potential to make, and has in
fact made, New Zealand's water law greener The focus is on whether the
introduction of sustainable management (as defined in s 5 of the 1991 Act)
has brought about greener decision-making than occurred under the 1967
Act's beneficial use test. It is asserted that the practice of balancing interests
has continued, although in a more confined sense, under the 1991 Act, and
that this is environmentally flawed. Possible solutions are briefly addressed.
1: INTRODUCTION
This article poses a simple but important question: has the Resource
Management Act 1991 brought a greener emphasis to decision-making
concerning the allocation of natural water in New Zealand?2 In general,
the mechanisms for water allocation under the 1991 Act mirror those in
BA Otago, LLB (Hons) Otago, LLM Otago. Lecturer in Law, University of Otago.
I am grateful to two of my colleagues, Nicola Peart and James Allan, for their
comments on this paper.
1    By green I mean a leaning towards the conservation or protection of nature. I do
not intend to make any distinction as to whether the aim is to conserve or protect
instrumental, intrinsic or ecological values in nature.
2    The Act set out to ... restate and reform the law relating to the use of... water, and

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