Environmental Management

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 445–456 | Cite as

From concept to practice: Implementing cumulative impact assessment in New Zealand

  • Jennifer Dixon
  • Burrell E. Montz
Environmental Auditing


In 1991, provisions for environmental impact assessment in New Zealand were changed significantly with the enactment of the Resource Management Act. Among other provisions, this act requires consideration of cumulative impacts in environmental assessment activities undertaken by planners in newly created regional authorities and district and city councils. The institutional context in which the act is being implemented offers both opportunities and constraints to cumulative impact assessment. A lack of methods for CIA is a recognized problem. However, methods that have been developed for environmental impact assessments can be modified to incorporate second-, third-, and fourth-order impacts as well as to identify the direction and magnitude of additive and synergistic impacts. Layered matrices and combined networks are examples of such methods. While they do not allow for scientific prediction, they do provide the practitioner with the ability to consider the cumulative impacts of decisions. This is crucial in New Zealand, where statutory requirements are ahead of established methodologies.

Key Words

Cumulative impact assessment Methods Institutional context Resource management New Zealand 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Dixon
    • 1
  • Burrell E. Montz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PlanningMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental StudiesBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA

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