2000 Conference Papers

"Retreat from the frontier: Fishing communities in New Zealand"
- Wayne L. McClintock, James T. Baines and C. Nicholas Taylor

International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, Bellingham, USA, 21-24 June, 2000.

The economic development of New Zealand has been based on the successive exploitation of natural resources through activities such as whaling, sealing, fishing, timber milling, farming, mining and the generation of electricity. This frontier approach has diminished as the importance of the sustainable management of natural resources has been acknowledged by policy and legislation (e.g. the Fisheries Act, 1983, and the Resource Management Act, 1991). Traditional fishing communities are positioned on the boundary between society and the nation's fisheries resources. At the frontier of society's exploitation of the marine environment they are always vulnerable to the depletion of specific species. Government regulation of the fishing industry has a key influence on management systems and technology used. Increased vessel size and reduced numbers have meant marked changes for fishing ports. There have also been changes in resource ownership, with major industry players consolidating their interests in fishing, and fish processing. Subject to cycles of boom and bust, and limits to access, the associated communities are becoming more reliant on alternative uses of the marine environment, or land-based economic activities to sustain the economic welfare of their inhabitants. Results reported in this paper are based on case studies of Havelock, Moeraki and Riverton - three fishing communities in the South Island of New Zealand. These case studies are part of a four year research programme that seeks an improved understanding of the relationship between communities and their natural resource base. The programme has focussed on a comparative analysis of communities dependent on forestry, mining, agriculture, energy and tourism as well as fishing communities. The research has moved beyond a boom-bust model of resource cycles in localities, adding an understanding of the interconnections between resource sectors at local and sub regional levels.

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"The value of longitudinal research as a basis for subsequent social impact assessment"
- Nick Taylor, Colin Goodrich, Gerard Fitzgerald and Wayne McClintock

Paper prepared for the International Association for Impact Assessment 20th Annual Meeting Hong Kong, 19-23 June 2000.

Social impact assessment (SIA) practice is often limited by the existing research base. Little social research is conducted with the specific goal of improved SIA practice. Yet development projects, technological change, resource conflicts and resource policy initiatives will all place heavy demands and pressures on the impact assessment process. One focus for impact assessment will be on the people who live and work at the interface between societies and their natural resource base. Despite a large legacy of rural sociological and community research, changes in resource communities are often poorly conceptualised for the purpose of impact assessment and there is no unanimity regarding conceptual frameworks or "road maps" for SIA practice. There is also a lack of comparative cases research that can be used to develop scenarios of change. This paper draws on a substantial, longitudinal analysis of resource communities in New Zealand. The results are used to illustrate the point that comparative cases are fundamental to social impact assessment, and longitudinal research is essential to the development of useful material on comparative cases. Longitudinal analysis that provides empirical data and a source of conceptual development can be derived both from specific research studies and from social assessment practice at various stages of the project cycle.

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"The importance of local knowledge"
- James Baines, Nick Taylor, Brigid Buckenham, Jane Douglas and Wayne McClintock

Paper presented at the 20th Annual Meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment in Hong Kong, 19-23 June 2000.

Host communities have important knowledge to share, based on their direct experience and observations of the operation of facilities and infrastructure. Professionals in Impact Assessment are important gatekeepers in accessing such knowledge and making it available to others - other host communities, local government planners, policy makers and decision makers. This paper highlights lessons learned from applying social assessment to the evaluation of solid waste facilities from the perspective of their host communities. The paper will outline the actual host community experience, as well as discuss methods in assessment, issues for interpreting results and the potential for this work to contribute to improved assessment, improved management (mitigation) and improved regulatory oversight of facilities and infrastructure.