LLB (Hons), BCom , Senior Associate
Michelle Mehlhopt
Michelle specialises in resource management, environmental and local government law.  Michelle has expertise in a wide range of areas, including district and regional planning, resource consents, enforcement and strategic advice for local authorities.  She has been heavily involved in earthquake recovery, urban development and land use planning in Canterbury and is regularly involved in large projects for both private clients and local authorities involving multiple parties and complex issues.

Michelle works collaboratively with her clients and their staff, strategic partners and other key stakeholders and is solutions focused in her approach.

Michelle is recommended by the Asia Pacific Legal 500 for her work in Resource Management.

"I enjoy working with an excellent team at Wynn Williams and with our clients to achieve the best results."
Wynn Williams (Christchurch)
Level 5, Wynn Williams House,
47 Hereford Street,
Christchurch 8013,
New Zealand.


Recent Projects

  • Acting for Canterbury Regional Council, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, Waimakariri District Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency ("the UDS Partners"), in relation to earthquake recovery matters in greater Christchurch, including the development and implementation of the Land Use Recovery Plan and subsequent Judicial Review proceedings.
  • The development and implementation of the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan.
  • The development of the proposed Canterbury Air Regional Plan.
  • Changes to regional planning documents to enable recovery under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, including a change to the Canterbury Regional Coastal Environment Plan and Regional Policy Statement in relation to coastal hazard management areas.
  • The development of, and High Court appeals on, the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan, together with a number of its sub-region catchment plans.
  • Acting for Canterbury Regional Council on the proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan, including in relation to natural hazards, indigenous biodiversity, airport noise, transport, subdivision, use and development.
  • Acting for Canterbury Regional Council in appeals on Proposed Change No. 1 to the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement in collaboration with the other UDS Partners.
  • Acting for Canterbury Regional Council on a large number of plan changes and variations to district plans in the Greater Christchurch area in order to give effect to the Regional Policy Statement. These have included various residential and rural residential subdivisions and development, the development of a new Styx town centre at Belfast and the development of a golf resort in the lower Styx area.
  • The review of, and High Court appeals on, the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement.
  • Advising on residential, rural, commercial and industrial property purchases and other due diligence.
  • Advising on obligations and requests made under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
  • The review of delegations of a local authority.
  • Advising on consultation and decision making requirements of local authorities.
  • Acting for corporate farmers and directors being prosecuted for unlawfully taking water.
  • Successful opposition to a resource consent application to carry out gold dredging operations in the Grey River.

Recent Articles


Natural Hazard Management under the RMA

Events such as the Christchurch earthquake sequence of 2010-2011, the November 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura and flooding in the Bay of Plenty earlier this year illustrate the need to effectively plan for, and respond to, natural hazards. Accordingly, the management of natural hazards has been given increasing importance in the recent amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA or Act).

Keep reading...


Have Your Say on the Marlborough Environment Plan

The Marlborough District Council notified the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP) on 9 June 2016. Now is your opportunity to have your say by lodging a submission.

Keep reading...


Christchurch City Council Plan Review - Another 'Streamlined' Process

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.

Keep reading...


The Changing Face of Water Management in Canterbury

Over the last ten years, the focus in Canterbury has been on getting water.  Now that water has been allocated, the focus is now moving to securing the reliability of that water and controlling the discharges associated with its use. This new focus is wider than just dairying, and includes the use of land for any primary production.

Keep reading...


Creswick Valley Residents Association Inc v Wellington City Council [2012] NZHC 644

A recent decision of the High Court in Creswick Valley Residents Association Inc v Wellington City Council [2012] NZHC 644 may have significant implications for Councils and their public notification obligations under the First Schedule of the RMA.

Keep reading...

Reported Decisions

  • Independent Fisheries Limited v Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery [2014] NZHC 959; [2014] NZHC 2810; [2015] NZHC 1353
  • Independent Fisheries Limited v Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery [2013] 2 NZLR 397 (SCNZ)
  • Canterbury Regional Council v Independent Fisheries Limited [2013] 2 NZLR 57 (CA)
  • Independent Fisheries Limited v Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery [2012] NZAR 785 (HC)
  • Cashmere Park Trust v Canterbury Regional Council [2012] NZEnvC 209
  • Kiwi Property Holdings Ltd v Christchurch City Council [2012] NZEnvC 92
  • Belfast Park Limited v Christchurch City Council [2011] NZEnvC 398
  • Canterbury Regional Council v Birchbrook Limited DC Christchurch CRI-2010-009-11694, 22 September 2011
  • Thacker v Christchurch City Council [2010] NZEnvC 246
  • Hampton v Hampton [2010] NZRMA 412
  • Canterbury Fields Management Limited v Waimakariri District Council [2011] NZEnvC 199
  • Association for Independent Research Inc v Canterbury Regional Council NZEnvC Christchurch C136/08, 12 December 2008
  • Crouchley v Ashburton District Council NZEnvC Christchurch C061/08, 21 May 2008
  • Brooklands Properties 2000 Ltd v Road Metals Company Ltd NZEnvC Christchurch C164/07, 19 December 2007
  • Christchurch City Council v New Zealand Chemical Care and Storage Limited NZEnvC Christchurch C124/07, 31 August 2007


  • Treasurer of Canterbury Branch of Resource Management Law Association
  • Resource Management Law Association

 Security code

Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 11, AIG Building, 41 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with stylesheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The latest version of Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome will work best if you're after a new browser.