Notes on Networking
Networking LocallyTalking with other groups can be useful if you are dealing with a resource consent application or plan review, or taking other action locally. Think about finding and approaching other groups who may have similar objectives - other environment groups, residents and ratepayers groups, local iwi, outdoor recreation groups, restoration and care groups. Forming alliances may benefit your group, and the outcome, in the following ways;
- Sharing information. This may help in problem-solving, i.e. finding appropriate solutions, such as conditions on a resource consent, or more effective plan rules.
- Sharing the tasks of research and submission writing, with more efficient use of members' time and effort. This avoids duplication of effort. The quality of submissions is likely to be higher, making action more effective.
- Sharing expertise and experience. The group(s) you network with may have previous experience with the RMA. There may be a lawyer or other planning professional in the wider group.
- Share costs - It may be possible to afford the services of a paid expert, or to pay for preparation of reports, which groups individually could not afford.
- Present a strong, united front at meetings, negotiations and hearings. Your Council may look more favourably on groups who present a joint case, and are clear about what solutions they seek. It saves time and effort on their part too.
- Your approach may motivate others to become more actively involved.
- Staying in touch with other groups in the environmental 'community of interest' can help to overcome feelings of isolation, through mutual support.
Not all issues are able to be resolved through the resource consent or plan process. A working group or partnership approach may be necessary for more complex problems. A coalition of local groups can be proactive in initiating such a partnership.
Landcare groups work on this principle. The Friends of the Whau group in West Auckland, and the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Forum, both involve community, tangata whenua, DOC, and local and regional government. These are examples of the 'whole catchment', or integrated management approach.
Wider NetworkingRMAlink enables you to contact groups from other areas who have dealt with a similar resource management issue or process. They may be able to;
- Direct you to the most useful research, relevant reports and policy documents, relevant parts of plans and policy statements, and environment court cases.
- Share copies of their submissions.
- Recommend resource management professionals or technical experts whose services were particularly useful and reasonably priced.
- Discuss with you relevant case law, how they argued their case, and share copies of experts' evidence.
- Advise you how to present your case well in negotiations or mediation.
- Tell you what outcomes they sought, and what was decided by the court (or in mediation).
- Tell you the approximate costs of professional services, court action, and sources of funding.