Edited by Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 2: Stakeholders and the Management of Freshwater Resources in New Zealand: A Critical Commons Perspective
1 P. Ali Memon and John W. Selsky INTRODUCTION Many of the major environmental issues that have captured the New Zealand public’s attention during the last decade relate to the management of natural resources such as water, ﬁsheries and forests. Available longitudinal data and public media accounts concerning changes in the state of the New Zealand environment indicate that the country’s terrestrial, air and ocean resources all are under increasing pressure (DoC 1996; MfE 1997). Even compared to the opinions held only ten years ago, most stakeholders in New Zealand would now agree that its ‘clean green’ image is heavily tainted. Issues of environmental decline are, of course, not conﬁned to New Zealand. Globally there is a growing awareness of threats to and degradations of many natural resources and environments. One of the major environmental and development problems in the world today is managing natural resources that have multiple stakeholders, existing or potential conﬂict among them, and rapid change in resource uses. The challenge in such situations is to design institutions and decision-making processes that are participatory and pluralistic, and that respect the ecological integrity of the resources themselves (Meppem 2000). Discourses of sustainability show considerable promise in recent policy and academic debates over how to meet this challenge. Policy-makers and researchers using sustainability frameworks recognize the need to understand the complex linkages between social and ecological systems, i.e., between key natural resources and environmental systems on the one hand, and the local and national institutions that regulate...
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