The purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991 is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. In particular, section 5(2)(a) includes:
...sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations.
In 2017, a client asked us to do a high-level review of New Zealand Policy Statements to see how regional councils consider the needs of future generations in their policy making. The results were that councils overall did not address future generations particularly well in their Regional Policy Statements.
It became clear that New Zealand needs to do a better job of considering future generations equally to our own when writing and implementing environmental policy. In many cases, the words "and future generations" was tacked on to a policy document, often just in explanatory text.
To help people address the policy shortcomings, we developed the GREAT system so environmental resources for future generations are not forgotten. Scientists and policy makers can do GREAT work on local, regional, national and global scales, ensuring a consistent approach to future generations across a range of disciplines.
G Generational acknowledgement R Resource diversity E Ecological bottom lines A Access T Tools
We recently presented the GREAT system at a freshwater conference poster session, and our poster is here for you to use. It is a useful tool when collecting data and developing policy (not just for freshwater), and we are keen to share it with other policy planners and scientists. Help your projects maintain flexible and secure resources for future generations.
GREAT infographic JPG 900KB
GREAT infographic JPG 6.1MB
If you are interested in our National Policy Statement review, here is our background research that led to the GREAT system: