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Über dieses Buch

This book explains the role of New Zealand’s environmental agencies and regulatory legislation, taking in the impact of international agreements and treaties. It traces the fortunes of sustainable policy approaches and analyzes the activities of the public agencies charged with managing the environment. Moving on to a detailed thematic status report on New Zealand’s environment, it examines rural, freshwater, coastal, oceanic, atmospheric and urban zones. Finally, chapters detail public perceptions and normative environmental values as well as the depth of business commitment to environmental responsibility. An ideal introduction to the topic for a diverse range of scholars, the book eschews any specific theoretical framework in charting the recent evolution, current operation and future trajectory of environmentalism in New Zealand. It backs strategic advice with both social and ecological data, and raises questions over the country’s reputation for greenness at the same time as recognizing its numerous achievements. With neat summaries of key issues at the end of each chapter, expansive guidance on further reading, and a multitude of examples ideal for classroom debate, this volume gives us an informed, objective, and wide-ranging appraisal on a topic of increasing centrality in the policy debate.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The New Zealand Environment

Abstract
This book addresses three key questions. What are the main threats to the quality of New Zealand’s environment? How are these threats being dealt with? How is the state of New Zealand’s environment to be judged? This chapter sets the context by explaining how New Zealand’s ecological evolution in relative isolation from other ecosystems has left special environmental challenges including vulnerability to invasive species as well as the ‘normal’ pressures on the environment from the growth of population and economic activity. Internationally, three trends are tending to focus more attention on the state of environment: declining resource availability, increased transparency and increasing expectations. New Zealand is affected by this ‘new environmentalism’ which puts its green image under growing threat. Although some environmental stresses have been reduced, many of New Zealand’s endemic wildlife remain under threat as habitat ecosystems are damaged or destroyed and invasive species spread. The serious nature of these problems questions whether enough is being done to protect the environment.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 2. Alternative Approaches to Environmental Management

Abstract
This chapter examines the main approaches to environmental management. Command and control approaches involve standards, monitoring and enforcement of penalties by public agencies. In the last few decades it has frequently been argued that such approaches impose too many costs on both government agencies and the organisations being regulated. This has resulted in the advocacy of economic instruments which focus on an economy’s overall environmental condition rather than the performance of each economic actor. Although New Zealand has introduced an emissions trading scheme it continues to be criticised by the OECD for not making sufficient use of economic instruments. Voluntary approaches to environmental management use a mix of social marketing, education, incentives and community pressure to make organisations address their environmental impacts and to help safeguard environmental resources. Two contrasting ways of explaining policy selection are: (i) normative guidance based on the understanding of the ­conditions in which each type of policy approach is judged most effective; (ii) a political economy perspective that examines how choices have actually been made.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 3. Agencies and Laws

Abstract
This chapter explores the main components of the environmental management system that has existed since the early 1990s. The key influences shaping the design of the system are explained and the connection to the larger reform of the public sector that occurred in the 1980s. The agencies and law that make up the environment management system are described. The Resource Management Act is the central piece of legislation and also one of the most debated parts of the environmental management regime. A guide to the controversy surrounding the Act is given by distinguishing the perspective of environmentalists, business interests and Māori. The final part of the chapter looks at New Zealand’s participation in international environmental treaties which are another influence shaping our environmental laws as well as being a measure of the national commitment to the environment relative to other countries.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 4. Principles and Indicators

Abstract
Principles that are based upon strong evidence can help guide effective action. Sustainability, precaution and polluter pays are often presented as principles of environmental management but their meaning remains too imprecise for them to provide sufficient guidance to environmental managers. Much difference remains as to what constitutes a contribution to sustainability and what a precautionary approach to environmental management implies. In the absence of certainty as to what actions to pursue, it is important to learn from experience and be adaptable as environmental conditions change. Environmental indicators assist through providing insight into the state of the environment and how this is affected by changes in population and economic activity. Ideally, an environmental indicator quantifies and thus simplifies environmental phenomena or systems and tells us something about changes taking place. Indicators can be combined into overall index scores to ­compare environmental performance between places but many measurement ­problems remain with the construction of composite scores.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 5. The Land

Abstract
This chapter is concerned with environmental issues on land. The review commences with comment on past environmental changes since these provide the setting from which many of today’s problems have evolved. Of all human activities, farming has had the greatest impact on the land with pastoral farming practices having particular impacts on soil erosion and land degradation. Nutrient contamination is a by product of heavy fertilisation of the soil for agriculture and may be considered a form of rural waste. New Zealand has a comparatively large area of land reserved for conservation purposes which has partly encouraged recent interest in opening up more of the conservation estate to mining. Classical problems of ecosystem loss and fragmentation have been countered in some regions by designating parks and reserves that cover roughly one third of the country. Unsustainable harvesting of native species has stopped, but problems still remain. The dual issues of invasive species and biodiversity loss are considered by some environmentalists to be symptomatic of the human presence in New Zealand that began with Māori settlement and continued with the coming of Europeans. Land holds a particular significance for Māori and there is ongoing debate over the sharing of environmental management responsibility.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 6. Freshwater

Abstract
Freshwater and freshwater aquatic ecosystems are key features of New Zealand’s natural heritage. They are of particular practical and spiritual value for Māori. Water resources are essential to the nation’s economy and are a significant recreational resource. Plentiful precipitation feeds many hundreds of streams, over 70 major rivers, about 770 lakes and numerous underground aquifers containing cool groundwater or hot geothermal water. Largely through the influence of mountain ranges, precipitation is unevenly distributed across the country. Ample precipitation has facilitated the development of hydroelectricity, but the more suitable sites are now either utilised or affected by conflicting land use and conservation demands. Land-use intensification is placing great pressure on freshwater environments and on the ecosystems on which much of New Zealand’s biodiversity depends. Poor water quality is found in catchments dominated by intensive agriculture or urban land use. Good riparian zone management is a key factor in determining water quality of streams in rural areas, in particular, streams bordering on pastoral land.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 7. Ocean and Coast

Abstract
The ocean and coastal environments are a fundamental part of the New Zealand way of life. Most of the population live within easy travel distance to the coast and for many people the ocean plays a large part in recreational activities, including family holidays, swimming, surfing, fishing or boating. The ocean holds particular spiritual and cultural values of importance to Māori and is considered an important food source. Many of the traditional Māori practices connected with the sea still exist and as well Māori have an ownership interest in a large share of the commercial fishing industry. Concerns over the environmental effects of fishing and waste disposal in coastal waters have increased in recent years. Considerable gaps exist in the ability to monitor changes in the marine environment identifying a weakness in any claims to be an environmentally responsible nation. The need for an ocean policy framework has long been recognised but has still to be realised.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 8. The Air

Abstract
New Zealand’s location in the strong prevailing southwesterly wind belt and its relatively small industrial economy and population means that it generally has good air quality. But this is not necessarily the case in the nation’s major urban centres. Indicators of air quality show that conditions in the main urban regions areas are generally poor. Legislation controls on the most important source of air pollutants, namely motor vehicles, remains weak. Fine airborne particles and carbon monoxide are the main pollutants. New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions rose by almost 20% from 1990 to 2009. Emissions data show that New Zealand is not typical of developed nations in that almost half of total emissions in 2009 were produced by pastoral-land activities. There is an increasing dependence on fossil fuels, although electricity from hydro generation continues to dominate energy consumption. Decoupling indicators suggest that New Zealand’s economy is reducing its reliance on energy while sustaining growth. Food miles and carbon footprint indicators can be used to show that energy efficiency in the agricultural sector in New Zealand compares well against other producers.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 9. Urban Environment

Abstract
This chapter raises questions about the impact of urbanisation on the state of the environment. The concentration of the population in urban centres and especially the Auckland region is generally seen to benefit economic development. This perception explains a lack of policy interest in redistributing population away from where it continues to concentrate. Little is known about how the incidence of and capacity to manage environmental issues might be affected by the distribution of population. In the past it has been argued that urban authorities have not had the legislative power to address environmental sustainability. The Local Government Act 2002 and possible reforms of the Resource Management Act provide more scope for councils to consider environment issues in their long term planning. The environmental values of New Zealanders continue to indicate that addressing economic well being is considered more important than improving the state of the environment. The population density of New Zealand cities is low compared with cities in Europe. There are potential environmental costs and benefits from increasing urban density.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Chapter 10. Reflections and Prospects

Abstract
Views about the state of New Zealand’s environment vary from those seeing it as pristine to those who believe the environment has been largely destroyed. Our own assessment identifies a number of weaknesses particularly with respect to environmental data, the protection of lowland, coastal and ocean ecosystems, pest control techniques, urban air quality and carbon emissions. An aspect of new environmentalism is that ideas and judgements about the nature of environmental problems and the required responses can gain momentum quickly and fuel environmental activism that is poorly informed. The campaign for local food is one illustration of this which has been of particular significance for New Zealand. The dangers of new environmentalism are shown by the way some of the claims about the benefits of local food are misleading, capable of being captured by big business rather encouraging local entrepreneurialism and are partly elitist in the interests served. Belief in the possibility of green growth is another aspect of the new environmentalism where prospects are mixed. Confidence in the ability of market-based instruments to resolve environmental problems is not supported by their use and the business community as a whole is not increasing its support for green business strategy. Public support may be greater for environmental protection when economic development is seen to threaten conservation. Some of the gaps in environmental management are addressed through large numbers of community-based environmental projects. The final part of the chapter provides guidance on how to keep in touch with developments affecting the state of the environment in New Zealand.
Chris R. de Freitas, Martin Perry

Backmatter

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