Horizontal and Vertical Integration of Sustainability into Policymaking, Planning and Implementation of Renewable Energy Projects—The New Zealand Model

  • David GrinlintonEmail author


While sustainable development is now widely accepted as an international normative principle guiding human interaction with the natural environment, it can be little more than an aspirational platitude unless incorporated in a practical and enforceable way in domestic regulation and processes. This paper addresses the vertical and horizontal integration of sustainability into policy-making, planning and decision-making with a particular focus on renewable energy developments. New Zealand is unique in the way it has incorporated the principle of sustainability as an enforceable concept in domestic legislation. The approach incorporates a hierarchical model with an environmental sustainability objective at the apex. This influences policy-making and “macro-planning” at the national and regional levels, which in turn influences lower level planning and operational decision-making. The system is integrated both vertically between different levels of government (central, regional and municipal), and horizontally between central and local government and resource management agencies, corporations, public interest groups and individuals. The system is a result of an exhaustive administrative and law reform process in the late 1980s-early 1990s that restructured central and local government agencies, and implemented major legislative reform. The underlying conceptual model may be described as “integrated environmental management” (IEM). The system has now been in place for 25 years, and has been continually amended and refined in that time. It provides a useful model of a considered and coherent approach that facilitates sustainable management of the environment and natural resource development , including encouraging greater uptake of renewable energy.


Renewable energy Sustainable development Sustainable management of natural and physical resources Integrated environmental management 

New Zealand Legal Terms and Abbreviations Used in this Part

EC or EnvC or Env Ct

Environment Court


District Court


High Court


Court of Appeal


Supreme Court


New Zealand Supreme Court


New Zealand Law Reports


New Zealand Resource Management Appeals


Judge of the Environment Court or District Court


Judge of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court


Abbreviation for Judge of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court


Abbreviation for two or more Judges of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court


Chief Justice


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Faculty of LawUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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