Resource Management Act Environmental Defence Society
Statutory Bodies
Planning Documents
Resource Consents
Other RMA Processes
Consent Submissions
Plan Submissions
Court Proceedings
Useful Skills
Regional Legislation
Incorporating Your Group
Where to Go for Help


Lion Logo

Law Foundation

Mnistry For The Environment

Historical  |  Approach  |  Principles  |  Overview  |  Tangata Whenua  |  Glossary

Introduction to the RMA

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.

Historical overview

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.

Principles of the RMA

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.

Overview of environmental management mechanisms

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.

Tangata whenua participation

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.