Understanding the Objective: Psychological Effects in Environmental Decision-Making

(2011) 24(4) New Zealand Universities Law Review 574-595.

22 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018

See all articles by Ceri Warnock

Ceri Warnock

University of Otago - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

A resource consent application for land use might encounter opposition by respondents who claim that the proposed activity will cause them to suffer psychologically. For example, opponents may fear that a proposed activity risks damaging their health and that they will suffer from unacceptable levels of anxiety if the application is consented to, or an activity may offend their moral sensibilities and as a consequence they feel anger and disgust. Psychological effects are a valid resource management concern but the case law on this issue appears inconsistent. This article considers the seeming contradictions in the way that psychological effects are accounted for in resource management decision-making in New Zealand. It posits that contrary to first impressions a dominant assessment approach is apparent, one that successfully manages the difficulties inherent in the ‘problem of other peoples’ minds’ and addresses land use conflicts in a principled, equitable manner. Further, it cautions that the legislature should be wary of attempting to tinker, as it has done latterly, with this common law approach. To do so not only risks corroding the sound principles formulated by the courts but may create inequities between citizens that are incapable of justification. To render the arguments less amorphous, various scenarios are explored and set within the fictional village of ‘Totoimano’.

Keywords: Environmental Law & Policy, New Zealand, Resource Management

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Warnock, Ceri, Understanding the Objective: Psychological Effects in Environmental Decision-Making (December 2011). (2011) 24(4) New Zealand Universities Law Review 574-595. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3263870

Ceri Warnock (Contact Author)

University of Otago - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 56
Dunedin North
Dunedin, 9016
New Zealand

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
6
Abstract Views
204
PlumX Metrics