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Inicio  /  Urban Science  /  Vol: 6 Par: 4 (2022)  /  Artículo

Identifying Limits in Domestic Law Delivering Net Ecological Benefit: A New Zealand Example

Stephen Knight-Lenihan    


Achieving a real net ecological benefit requires among other things legislative changes to existing environmental laws. New Zealand is one country undertaking such a review. The proposed new laws recognise a need to enhance the quality of the environment as a move away from minimising harm. As such, this appears to be a move toward a Positive Development (PD) approach to environmental management. However, as this paper concludes, the shift remains incomplete partly because while science is used to inform the creation of policies, plans, legislation and regulation, this is only achieved up to a point. That point is where the socio-economic norms and expectations prevent the on-going application of what is required by science to address observable and quantifiable ecological degradation. The understanding and application of ecological integrity is used as an example of how this can result in legislation apparently enabling significant change and a possible net ecological benefit but failing in effect to do so. The article concludes that legislative changes can better frame the problem of on-going ecological decline within the dominant paradigm, and as a result, it may deliver benefits, but these will not be net benefits in the Positive Development sense.

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