The RMA was a major piece of legislative reform. It provided for a new approach to environmental management based on the concept of sustainable management.
The antecedents of the RMA are based both in international and local thinking.
The approach to environmental management under the RMA is centred on the concepts of sustainable and integrated management of resources.
The principles of the RMA focus on the overriding purpose of sustainable management. Other principles of national and lesser importance are set out in the Act.
Environmental management under the RMA is mainly achieved through the statement of overall goals in the Act itself, the establishment of a hierarchy of policy statements and plans, the granting of resource consents and the provision of mechanisms for enforcement.
The RMA provides directly and indirectly for tangata whenua participation in the preparation of policy statements and plans and in decisions on resource consent applications.
The RMA defines a range of terms used in the legislation.