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Advancing environmental sustainability via deliberative democracy: Analysis of planning and policy processes for the protection of Lake Taupo

Murugesh Arunachalam (Accounting Department, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Jagdeep Singh-Ladhar (Accounting Department, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Andrea McLachlan (Accounting Department, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 5 September 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the planning and policy processes in relation to the pollution in Lake Taupo. This paper describes and explains the manifestation of the tenets of deliberative democracy and the impediments of mobilising the tenets in the planning and policy-making processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This interpretive case study makes sense of interview transcripts, minutes of meetings, media reports and public documents and adopts deliberative democratic theory as the theoretical framework for the interpretive analysis.

Findings

Some factors fostered and others challenged the mobilization of the tenets of deliberative democracy. Local government processes facilitated the expression of multiple views in relation to the impacts of human activities on the Lake. Confrontations and tensions were inevitable elements of the deliberative processes. Pre-determined outcomes and domination of local authorities, aiming for environmental sustainability of Lake Taupo, posed as challenges to the operation of deliberative democracy. Some stakeholders need to sacrifice more than others, but recognition of pluralism, conflicts and differences is an essential part of deliberative democracy.

Originality/value

There is scarcity of research that empirically examines local government processes in light of deliberative democratic principles. The study also extends environmental and social studies that have explored the arena approach to accountability and decision-making.

Keywords

Citation

Arunachalam, M., Singh-Ladhar, J. and McLachlan, A. (2016), "Advancing environmental sustainability via deliberative democracy: Analysis of planning and policy processes for the protection of Lake Taupo", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 402-427. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2014-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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