A recent hikoi and associated petition presented to Parliament this week highlights the increasing focus being given to the management of the quality of freshwater in New Zealand.
On 26 November 2015, the Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Nick Smith, announced the long-awaited details of the suite of reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA") and other environmental legislation proposed in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.
The main objectives of the reforms are to achieve better alignment and integration across the resource management system, proportional and adaptable processes, and robust and durable decision making.
What is a written approval?
The resource consent process under the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA") provides an opportunity for certain persons affected by an activity seeking consent, to become involved in the decision-making process. A consent authority is required to notify adversely affected persons of the application for consent. Those affected persons are then entitled to lodge a submission in support or opposition to the application. Anyone who has lodged a submission can bring evidence and be involved in the hearing of a resource consent application.
The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Act 2014 (the "Act"), which came into force on 7 August 2014, implements the Government's second phase of legislative reform of the operation of local government. The Act contains some significant changes for local authorities in relation to development contributions, local boards, delivery and governance of services, consultation in decision making, and infrastructure strategies. We outline some of these changes below.
The review of the Christchurch City Plan and Banks Peninsula District Plan will be streamlined by an Order in Council made under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 ("CER Act").
The Canterbury Earthquake (Christchurch Replacement District Plan) Order 2014 (the "Order"), which came into force on 8 July 2014, requires the Christchurch City Council ("the Council") to review the existing district plans and develop a replacement district plan. The Order modifies the provisions and application of the Resource Management Act 1991, and remains in force until 19 April 2016.
The Environmental Reporting Bill will, if enacted, introduce a national-level environmental reporting system focusing on five key domains: air, climate and atmosphere, freshwater, land, and marine.
Queenstown has become a hotspot, not only for adventure tourism, but also resource management litigation. In a recent article, we discussed caselaw involving two resource consent applications to build a Pak'nSave and a Mitre 10 Mega at Frankton Flats, Queenstown (the "Consent Cases"). A further development has emerged in a related High Court appeal.
The recent decisions of the High Court in Queenstown Central Ltd v Queenstown Lakes District Council have highlighted developments in fundamental principles related to resource consent applications for non-complying activities, the definition of "the environment", and the meaning of the word "minor".
Everyone knows that an employee who turns up at work under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a very real risk not only just to their own safety but also to the safety of other employees and customers - especially where the operation of heavy machinery is involved. This doesn't always (but can) involve blatant drug or alcohol use at work. Sometimes, as an employer, you are dealing with the after-effects of drug or alcohol use by your employee the night before. In other instances, you are trying to screen for drugs and alcohol in a safety sensitive area.
Section 181(2) of the Local Government Act 2002 empowers territorial authorities to construct sewage and stormwater drainage works "on or under private land". This case was the first occasion the High Court has been required to interpret section 181(2) of the Act.
The Courts have recently looked at the issue of whether a Council owes a duty to take reasonable care in issuing a section 224 certificate and ensuring registration of a consent notice under the Resource Management Act 1991. The outcome of these proceedings may have important consequences for local authorities.
On 29 January 2013, the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill (the "Bill") was introduced to Parliament. The Bill proposes changes to extend the application of the Construction Contracts Act (the "CCA") to residential construction contracts, and to widen the group of professionals covered by the CCA. It also proposes to amend the enforcement and adjudication processes and to allow more direct enforcement of determinations under the CCA.