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Simon Nash

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Policy)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Integration of Citizens' Agendas in New Zealand Local Government environmental decision-making: An examination of two wastewater planning processes and implications for deliberate democracy

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Mr Nash considered the problem of ensuring that citizens have meaningful opportunities to participate in local government environmental planning and decision-making. The research focused on conflicts between actors’ perspectives on procedural issues (such as the roles of citizens and councillors), and epistemological issues (such as the value of different types of knowledge). The research used Q-methodology to explore actors’ perspectives on two wastewater planning processes. Mr Nash found that perspective-based conflicts are a critical obstacle to the effective integration of citizens’ agendas in planning and decision-making, yet such conflicts often go unrecognised. The research showed that there is considerable potential to reduce conflicts and to better integrate citizens’ agendas when actors deliberate and seek compromises based on common understandings of one another’s values and preferences. The thesis argues that councils should foster deliberative perspectives among actors and that this will contribute to more democratically legitimate and durable decision-making.

Associate Professor Christine Cheyne
Associate Professor Kerry Taylor
Professor Jenny Dixon