Volume 22 Issue 1, 2007

Strengthening linkages between land-use planning and emergency management in New Zealand

Wendy Saunders, Jane Forsyth, David Johnston, Julia Becker.

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


Fifteen years on from the inception of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) in New Zealand, many councils are now, or will be, undertaking a review of their plans and policies. This review time, which results in second-generation plans, allows for policies to be reviewed and amended, deleted, or added as required. In 2002 the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act (CDEM Act) was enacted, and supports natural hazard reduction measures, primarily through the RMA framework. With many legislative requirements for planners to consider during the plan review process, this paper highlights to planners how important the CDEM Act is in promoting natural hazard risk reduction, and how measures under the CDEM Act need to be supported under the RMA planning framework. When CDEM Group Plans are reviewed in a couple of years’ time, it is equally important that RMA planners are involved, and that policies under the two pieces of legislation complement, rather than contradict, each other. This paper provides a brief overview of the RMA and CDEM Act. A framework is introduced showing how the CDEM Act and RMA can work together in supporting policies to reduce the risks from natural hazards. Several case studies provide examples of how linkages can be strengthened, and the importance of strengthening the relationships between policy planners and the emergency management profession.