RMLA Awards Report 2005

Four nominations were received this year, all in the document and project sections. The Awards Panel, comprising Mike Foster (Convenor), Dave Serjeant and Bill Loutit, applied the judgement criteria set out in the RMLA guidelines and made two awards.

The Project Award for 2005 went to the “Wind’s Up” project by Mark Ashby of Connell Wagner. The document provides a comprehensive guide to best practice for local authorities, and anybody proposing a wind farm.

“Wind’s Up” was officially launched by the Minister for the Environment in November 2004 and can be accessed freely at the EECA website. EECA informs us that it is the most downloaded document on the website. There is an interesting chapter in the book called “The Silence of the Plans” alluding to the lack of planning provision providing controlling for wind farms. With the rush for wind farm space all over the country currently, are we moments away from an aquaculture-type imposed moratorium? .

The second, (considered by the Awards Panel to be the primary award) went to the Ministry for the Environment for its ‘Making Good Decisions’ programme which has been running nation-wide this year with a second round of workshops just recently held. The programmes genesis was the Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance Costs in 2001, followed by research into options for a voluntary decision-maker accreditation scheme. The recommended option, which had significant cross-sector support, was then further developed by a Ministry Advisory Board. A further group produced a Workbook and Presentation Teams Handbook, including a DVD with a scripted, acted hearing. The Auckland University’s Centre for continuing Education was granted a license to deliver the programme and then a cast of presenters was engaged to actually deliver the programme.

The programme had three main aims:

  • To improve the quality and consistency of decision-making where notified applications for resource consent are concerned.
  • To build capacity in local government by providing decision-makers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed, well-founded decisions.
  • To secure the confidence of applicants, submitters and communities in local decision-making processes under the RMA.

By the Panel’s count in the supporting documentation there have been 50-60 persons involved with preparing this programme. To date approximately 800 persons have been through the workshop nation-wide.

The National Committee thanks all four applicants and encourages members to keep their award nominations coming for 2006.