Enabling marine ecosystem-based management: Is New Zealand’s legal framework up to the task?

Dr Alison Greenaway1, Raewyn Peart2, Lara Taylor1

1Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand

2Environmental Defence Society, Auckland, New Zealand


Ecosystem-based management has been proposed as a more effective way of addressing complex environmental challenges in the marine environment. The NZ Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge has recently proposed seven principles to underpin marine ecosystem-based management in New Zealand reflecting international experience and the essential role of Māori in New Zealand society. We review the extent to which the current legal framework enables these principles to be applied in the New Zealand context. There is an uneven approach across New Zealand’s legislative landscape with some important areas requiring rationalisation, modernisation and strengthening. One way to achieve this, without undertaking fundamental reform, would be to provide a national statutory framework for marine spatial planning in order to provide a stronger framework for the application of the proposed EBM principles.


Dr Greenaway attends to co-production of sustainable development knowledge and practice. She facilitates and evaluates processes which foster collective deliberation to address complex issues. Alison is currently exploring technologies for invasive species management; implementation of large scale biodiversity restoration; pest control across public-private boundaries; and marine ecosystem based management.

Competing conflicts in coastal climate change adaptation: rethinking binaries

Tayanah O’Donnell

Director, Future Earth Australia, Australian Academy of Science, ANU


Legal geography has become more than a focus on spatialised law in its myriad forms. These differentiations include renewed focus on temporality (Valverde, 2015); materiality (Graham and Godden, 2018), pluralism and spatial justice (Robinson and Graham, 2017) and the spatial as represented through a political ecology lens (Gillespie and Salgo, 2018; O’Donnell, 2019).

This presentation will explore these recent cross cutting tensions in the context of coastal climate change adaptation conflicts.

Regulatory failure and regression of environmental protections: greed, governance and generality

A/Prof. Robyn Bartel1

1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia


Environmental crime is often considered separately to ‘real’ crime, and environmental law not ‘really’ law. Regulatory failure is common, and evident in Australia in land clearing, water theft, waste dumping, biosecurity and the live export trade. Similar poor performance is demonstrated in other jurisdictions and there is regression of environmental protection and controls internationally. However, the environmental law may not be singular, rather it may be the proverbial canary in the coalmine. In Australia, scrutiny of the performance of the banking and financial service industries, the health sector, and education providers has revealed pervasive poor performance of compliance and corporate governance. A comparative analysis of regulatory oversight and regression in several public policy areas reveals some common causes, including declining norm agreement, increasing fracturing of self from public interest, and stark imbalances of knowledge and power. Such factors are hardly new, however traditional solutions are unlikely to be successful, given their patchy track records. Lessons learned from moral economy perspectives (e.g. Scott, 1976) and the experience of ‘educating upwards’ are evaluated for their potential applicability. The deployment of ‘weapons of the weak’ (Scott, 1985) and ‘upward ethical leadership’ (Uhl-Bien & Carsten, 2007) for improved governance more generally are recommended.


Robyn Bartel is a legal geographer interested in all aspects of environmental law, regulatory theory, governance and the interactions between humans and landscape.

Fatal pressure on natural resources

Dr Nathalie Butt1, Dr  Fran Lambrick2, Dr  Mary Menton3, Dr Anna Renwick1

1The University Of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

2Not 1 More www.not1more.org, London, UK

3The University of Sussex, Falmer, UK


From 2002 to 2017, 1558 environmental defenders in 50 countries have been killed. The victims include community activists, lawyers, journalists, NGO staff, park rangers, and indigenous leaders. During the last fifteen years, the number of both deaths of environmental defenders, and the countries where they occur, has increased: recorded deaths have increased from two per week to four per week over this period. The reasons for these deaths are primarily related to conflict over natural resources, across a range of sectors but in particular mining and agribusiness: > 230 deaths between 2014 and 2017. We find that, importantly, rule of law and corruption indices are most closely linked to patterns of killings. We investigate the drivers of these conflicts and violence, seek to identify who may be most at risk, and why, and argue that businesses, investors, and national governments at both ends of the chain of violence, need to be more accountable. The silencing of voices proximate to the frontline has a chilling effect globally: if people are afraid to speak up or campaign, this could lead to the silencing of important environmental and conservation issues even in theoretically safe and non-corrupt countries.


Nathalie Butt is an environmental and conservation scientist whose work focuses largely on climate and biodiversity interactions. Recent research has covered the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems, and human-nature interactions.

She gained her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2009 and is currently on a Discovery Early Career Research Award from the ARC, based at the University of Queensland.


Narratives enabling ecosystem based management: reworking public conversations.

Dr Alison Greenaway1, Robyn  Kannemeyer1, Dr Erena  Le Heron2, Prof Richard Le Heron2, Assoc Prof Nick Lewis2, Assoc Prof Carolyn Lundquist2, Dr Janet Stephenson3, Lara Taylor1

1Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand

2University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

3University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand


Scenarios envision how different pathways of development might lead to future environmental governance outcomes. While commonly used in planning contexts and more recently for climate change adaptation, the use of scenarios is in its infancy in environmental planning in New Zealand, particularly for ocean management. Key to the use of scenarios is the narration of possible and plausible futures.  Scenarios about New Zealand’s marine futures and more specifically the narratives used to articulate these scenarios were explored and developed to resource conversations between marine actors.  Our aim is to see how these narratives generate a diversity of possible marine futures.

We crafted a set of multi-media products which depict features on the horizon of the socio-economic land/marine-scape.  We worked with existing narratives about marine management which disrupt and challenge normalised, siloed and ineffective ways of managing. Analysis of existing initiatives was synthesised to provide an empirical foundation for the narratives.  This synthesis supported a move from working with stories as research objects and modes of inquiry to stories as active processes.  Since the act of storytelling and story-listening connects a diverse public this work fosters the imaginative forms of collaboration and place oriented collective action Ecosystem Based Management requires.


Dr Greenaway attends to co-production of sustainable development knowledge and practice. She facilitates and evaluates processes which foster collective deliberation to address complex issues. Alison is currently exploring technologies for invasive species management; implementation of large scale biodiversity restoration; pest control across public-private boundaries; and marine ecosystem based management.

Navigating rising seas in small-island states

Dr Celia Mcmichael1, Dr Carol Farbotko2

1The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

2CSIRO, Brisbane, Australia


This paper will investigate the effects of sea-level rise, and associated policies, on the everyday lives of people in Fiji and Tuvalu. The everyday concerns the routine ways in which people and communities organise themselves on a daily basis, make sense of their lives and imagine their futures. Yet the everyday has not been adequately considered in relation to climate change. This is in part because the routines of everyday life appear uneventful and incommensurate with the magnitude of change required to ameliorate and respond to climate impacts. Based on visual and qualitative data collected in Fiji (where planned relocation and retreat are underway in response to coastal erosion and flooding) and Tuvalu (where there is voluntary immobility and circular mobilities) this paper considers how people respond to local environmental changes and negotiate ‘protect, accommodate and retreat’ policies in their everyday lives. Understanding how everyday experiences of sea-level rise and policy responses shape people’s vulnerability and resilience can provide valuable insights into improved forms of adaptation.


Dr Celia McMichael is a senior lecturer in the School of Geography, The University of Melbourne. Her academic research focuses on international health, refugee resettlement in Australia, and environmental change and human mobility in small island states. She is an invited member of the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Migration, Climate and Health and a contributing author for IPCC Assessment Report 6.

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