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Stocktake of RMA monitoring across selected agencies

Publication date:  May 2012
Publication reference number:  CR 131

The Stocktake of RMA Monitoring was one of four studies undertaken as part of the RMA Monitoring and Review Project. The Stocktake provided a better understanding of the processes and systems used by local and central government to monitor the RMA. 

Fifteen councils and 11 government agencies (including the Ministry for the Environment) were surveyed.

All stocktake participants were surveyed about:

  • process – what strategy, framework or indicators are used for monitoring?
  • data – what data is collected, by who, when?
  • systems – how is data held, by who and how is it used?
  • networks – is the data shared, if so when and how?
  • costs – what are the costs of data capture, storage, management and use?

Councils were also surveyed about:

  • functions monitoring (under section 33 and 34 of the RMA)
  • resource consents / designations
  • plan / policy statement (including change or variation) monitoring
  • compliance / enforcement monitoring.

The limited sample size of councils prevented conclusive statements about the types of councils undertaking actions. However, some general trends identified included:

  • generally the bigger the council, the more monitoring was undertaken
  • regional councils tended to have comprehensive monitoring programmes (reflecting their environmental monitoring responsibilities)
  • long-term plans and the biennial survey of local authorities have influenced the establishment of monitoring across resource consent processes
  • councils were working together on initiatives to create common / shared systems and information.

The Stocktake found that:

  • various systems, databases and processes have been developed, in many cases to meet individual needs. As a result there is often little linkage and consistency across councils which poses a challenge for collecting standardised information at the national level
  • while the Ministry for the Environment undertakes a variety of RMA monitoring, it lacks a comprehensive framework to coordinate and consolidate monitoring needs.
  • there were few other departments with RMA functions, but departments that gather data under their own statutes had information about the effectiveness of the RMA.
  • while there were no commonalities of systems across departments, there were commonalities and networks for sharing data like state of the environment reporting.

The Stocktake had some limitations in its conclusions so assumptions around processes or systems used to inform the design of a draft framework will be highlighted for testing across all councils through consultation in early 2013.

Find out more on the Developing a national monitoring system for the RMA web page.