RdU (the student radio station here) are going to interview me on Monday morning about the recent decision by Meridian to abandon seeking resource consent for a dam on the Mokihinui river. By way of preparation, I thought I would glance through the Resource Management Act. The thing that struck me was that nowhere in the legislation could I find any implicit statement of what the objective function should be when determining the outcome in a judicial process. Indeed, I could find no mention at all of benefits against which environmental costs should be weighed.
If this is the case, how does the consent process make determinations in cases where the environmental costs of the proposed activity are very small, but the benefits are even smaller; or correspondingly, what if the environmental costs are humongous, but the benefits are two times humongous?
But I am no lawyer trained in where to look for things in legislation, and the RMA is very large. Can anyone help me by pointing to where, if anywhere, benefits are mentioned in the RMA, and where, if anywhere, some attempt is made to set criteria for assessing trade-offs?