New Zealand environmental law

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Environmental law in New Zealand is an increasingly well defined body of national law that has a specialist court, The Environment Court of New Zealand (Māori: Te Kooti Taiao o Aotearoa), to decide related issues.


The roots of New Zealand environmental law can be traced to the common law of Australia.[citation needed] The increasing environmental awareness of the 1960s led to a specific body of environmental law that developed in many Western countries including New Zealand. Environmental law became more integrated in the 1980s with the passing of the Environment Act 1986 and the Conservation Act 1987. These Acts set up the Ministry for the Environment, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Department of Conservation.

The most significant Act of Parliament concerning environmental law was the passing of Resource Management Act 1991. Issues under the Act are adjudicated by the Environment Court of New Zealand.


This timeline outlines the more significant environmental legislation in New Zealand:

See also[edit]


  • Coutts, B. 1997 A Practical Guide to Resource Consents John McIndoe, Dunedin ISBN 0-473-04592-3
  • Bosselman, K.; Grinlinton, D. 2002 Environmental Law for a Sustainable Society ISBN 0-473-08646-8
  • Wells, N. E., (editor) 1984 A Guide to Environmental Law in New Zealand, ISBN 0-86472-006-8

Further reading[edit]

  • Rob Harris, ed. (2004). Handbook Environmental Law. Wellington: Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. ISBN 0-9597851-8-3. 
  • Taylor, Rowan (1997). The state of New Zealand's environment 1997. Wellington, N.Z: Ministry for the Environment. ISBN 0-478-09000-5. 

External links[edit]