Building Institutions for Sustainability: A New Zealand Case Study

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dc.contributor.advisor Richard Le Heron en
dc.contributor.advisor Willie Smith. en
dc.contributor.author McKenzie, Stephen Peter en
dc.date.accessioned 2007-07-05T02:44:46Z en
dc.date.available 2007-07-05T02:44:46Z en
dc.date.issued 2005 en
dc.identifier.citation Thesis (PhD--Geography)--University of Auckland, 2005. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/635 en
dc.description.abstract One of the most important challenges facing Western capitalist societies at the beginning of the 21st century is how to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental futures. The successful translation of the principles underpinning sustainability into concrete outcomes is dependent on the institutional context within which political contests over alternative futures take place. It is as important to build an institutional fabric that preserves sustainability options for future generations as preserving the environment itself. The importance of aligning juridical-political institutions with the principles of sustainability has become embedded in international political agreements, global action plans such as Agenda 21 and national and international policy discourses. Yet little attention has been paid to investigating the impact of juridical-political institutions on the achievement of sustainable futures let alone implementing these recommendations. Between 1984 and 1991 New Zealand actively reconfigured its juridical-political environmental institutional fabric. The reform process was driven by a desire to create a new market based long wave of economic growth and to actively incorporate the principles underpinning sustainability into the juridical-political institutional fabric. The reforms involved the restructuring of the national state's environmental bureaucracy, the reorganisation of regional and local government and a comprehensive review of environmental and planning legislation that resulted in the enactment of the Resource Management Act l99l (RMA). This dissertation aims to test common assumptions about the importance of juridical-political change for sustainability. It investigates the extent to which juridical-political institutions help to secure sustainable outcomes drawing on a geographically inspired, theoretically informed investigation into recent attempts to manage the water quality of New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. The dissertation argues that juridical-political institutions for sustainability have a regulatory role and a governance role. In the former instance, they attempt to redefine the relationship between economy, society and environment in a manner that supports continued capitalist accumulation. In the latter instance, they establish the rules within which particular contests over environmental futures are fought. The precise outcome of contests over the environment depends on the complex interaction of institutions, material factors, actors, strategies and discourses. Juridical-political institutional change may help to steer society towards sustainability. It does not, however, guarantee sustainable outcomes. While it is important to build juridical-political institutions that incorporate the principles underpinning sustainability the process of achieving sustainability requires also requires reflexive political action and value change through society. Key words: juridical-political institutions, sustainability, regulation, governance, water resource management, New Zealand, Resource Management Act 1991. en
dc.format Scanned from print thesis en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA1497229 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Building Institutions for Sustainability: A New Zealand Case Study en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Geography en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.local.anzsrc 0406 - Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience en
pubs.org-id Faculty of Science en


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