Iwi management plans (IMPs) are not just about the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). They can provide useful insight and information for:
- councils, in carrying out their powers and functions under various statutes, including the Local Government Act 2002 (e.g. providing opportunities for Māori to contribute to decision-making processes; preparing Long Term Plans)
- people considering applying for resource consents or permissions for resource use under other statutes.
IMPs provide a starting point for achieving the purposes of the RMA in relation to recognising and providing for Māori cultural values and interests. In particular they:
- assist to meet obligations under Part 2 of the Act, by providing a general understanding of tangata whenua values and interests in the natural and physical resources in a particular area
- must be taken into account when preparing or changing regional policy statements and regional and district plans (sections 61, 66, 74)
- provide a starting point for consultation with iwi and hapū on council plans and policies (Schedule 1 clause 3(1)(d), clause 3B, and clause 3C), by providing information to understand key issues and the ways to resolve those issues
- provide a starting point for understanding potential effects of a proposed activity on Māori cultural values when making an application for resource consent (section 88 and Schedule 4)
- may be cited in submissions and/or evidence relating to applications for resource consent, and decision-makers may have regard to IMPs under section 104(1)(c).
In particular, council practitioners can use an IMP to:
- more effectively understand what is important to iwi/hapū, including matters outside the RMA
- gain a clearer insight into what 'sustainable management ' means from a tangata whenua perspective, and how this can be delivered in their region/district
- identify and understand the expectations of iwi/hapū (e.g. how they would like to be consulted and on what, and how things of value identified by tangata whenua might be managed both within and outside the RMA framework)
- guide a potential applicant for resource consent on what information is required for assessing potential environmental effects, including effects on Māori cultural values (see Frequently Asked Questions on Cultural Impact Assessments ).
- identify key areas where the capacity and capability of tangata whenua could be enhanced to help manage natural and physical resources
- improve their understanding of the foundations on which relationships between iwi/hapū and local authorities can be fostered and, through this, improve relationships.
The Waitangi Tribunal has recently confirmed the importance of iwi management plans to enable iwi/hapū priorities for the environment to be integrated into local authority decision-making. See Kō Aotearoa Tēnei: A report into the claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori Cultural and Identity (Waitangi Tribunal, 2011) and Kō Aotearoa Tēnei - Fact Sheet 4 Resource Management (Waitangi Tribunal, 2011) .
Additional information on how to use IMPs is contained in the Ministry for the Environment publication Whakamau ki Nga Kaupapa – Making the best of iwi management plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 .