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Obiter dictum – “a statement of a Judge on a point of law not essential to the decision of the case before him or her.  “I think there is little doubt that those opinions were obiter and, in the case of two of the members, given merely in passing … we are free to take a different view” (per McCarthy J, Joe v Young [1964] NZLR24, 48).


The purpose of this part of our website is to provide a platform for debate and discussion about topical and emerging issues in resource management, local government and environmental law.

We invite and host contributions at the leading edge of such debate.

The views expressed in the opinion pieces on this page are not necessarily the views of the RMLA, or indeed its members.

  • Flaws in the framework recommended by the Land & Water Forum's Second Report

    Date: 12 Jul, 2012
    Author: Derek Nolan, Bal Matheson, James Gardner-Hopkins and Bronwyn Carruthers, Russell McVeagh

    In our paper entitled "A Better Approach to Improving the RMA Plan Process" dated 21 March 20121 we put forward our proposals for improving the processes for policy statements and plans under Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA"). We were particularly concerned about suggestions, primarily from local government, that the Environment Court's role should be significantly curtailed, with appeals only being permitted on points of law.

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  • Plan Agility and First Schedule Reform

    Date: 30 Aug, 2012
    Author: National Committee of RMLA

    Position Statement of the National Committee of the Resource Management Law Association (RMLA) on Plan Agility and First Schedule Reform

    The purpose of this paper is to state the position of the National Committee of the RMLA in the context of the current debate about whether full rights of appeal to the Environment Court on RMA planning documents should be retained as part of potential reform initiatives aimed at improving the responsiveness of planning instruments to changing circumstances (plan agility).

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  • Improving RMA Policy Making: Prescription for Reform

    Date: 01 Oct, 2011
    Author: Alan Dormer, Barrister and Vaughan Payne, Waikato Regional Council

    The Waikato Region, like a number of New Zealand regions, is facing significant pressure to manage competing interests to use, develop and protect natural and physical resources. These competing interests typically manifest in submissions and appeals on policy under the Resource Management Act (RMA) – no matter how collaborative the policy making process has been.

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