The Government has announced its plan to tackle water quality issues in New Zealand, with a focus on stopping further degradation and loss, reversing past damage, and addressing water allocation issues.
The Court of Appeal recently issued its judgment in Northland Regional Council v Kaipara District Council  NZCA 63, being the latest development in a longstanding argument regarding the validity of rates set by the Northland Regional Council.
The Government has introduced two new Bills which are due to have their First Reading next week: the Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill, and the Local Electoral Matters Bill.
The Conservation (Infringement System) Bill is currently with the Environment Committee and is open for submissions until Friday, 6 April 2018.
The Bill provides central and local government agencies with infringement notices as another tool for dealing with lesser offences under conservation legislation.
The much anticipated National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry Regulations were notified in the NZ Gazette on 3 August 2017. These Regulations, which come into force on 1 May 2018, establish a new nationwide consenting regime for plantation forestry activities.
Today the Government announced a suite of further freshwater management reforms. The headline change is a new target that 90 per cent of New Zealand's lakes and rivers meet swimmable water quality standards by 2040.
The recent decision of the High Court in Meridian Energy Company v Wellington City Council  NZHC 48 has reaffirmed the broad discretion and wide-ranging powers of local bodies to set rates under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (Rating Act). The Court has also confirmed that both general and target rates can be set differentially, within the one rating unit, depending on the use to which the land is put.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is calling for submissions on the recently released Draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2017-2022.
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith recently announced that the Māori Party will support the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill enabling the Bill to progress through the Parliamentary process. These reforms were first introduced in November last year and Wynn Williams published an article regarding the proposed reforms.
In January 2016, the Ministers for Primary Industries, Conservation, and the Environment announced plans to improve the management of New Zealand's oceans by implementing a revised system of marine protected areas designed to improve and build upon management systems which already exist.
The new six-month consent processing time frames will be introduced on 3 March 2015 when Part 3 of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (the "Amendment Act") comes into force. This will have a significant impact on the resource consent process, which has been overhauled in an attempt to make the entire procedure more efficient and provide a degree of certainty to applicants. Although these amendments were originally proposed to hasten "medium-sized projects" the amendments now apply across the board to all resource consent applications.