Philip Maw

LLB, BSc, National Managing Partner

Philip is the National Managing Partner of Wynn Williams and partner in the Resource Management and Environmental Law team.  He is recognised as a leader in his field by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022, Chambers and Partners 2022 and Doyles Guide legal directories. 

Philip is experienced in a wide range of resource management and local government matters, with particular expertise in freshwater management.  He is a highly skilled advocate and regularly appears on appeals to the Environment Court and High Court.  With degrees in both science and law, he is able to readily assimilate complex technical information often associated with resource management projects.

As lead legal advisor to Environment Canterbury and Environment Southland, Philip is adept at managing client relationships and understands the complexities associated with achieving strategic outcomes within the confines of the law.  In these roles he has led the development of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (including sub-region catchment sections giving effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014) and the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan.  He has also advised Regional Councils on:
  • All stages of plan development, from inception through to resolution of appeals, including regional and district plans, and regional policy statements;
  • All stages of resource consenting, including for quarrying, stormwater discharge, retail development, water takes, irrigation schemes, hydro-electricity schemes, subdivision and industrial developments;
  • Water Conservation Orders;
  • Judicial review on notification decisions; and
  • Declaration proceedings, in both the Environment Court and the High Court. Philip has also served on the National Committee of the Resource Management Law Association.  
The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms
"I like to work collaboratively with my clients and their advisors, focusing on delivering results which add real value. Often, simplicity is the key – solutions need not be complicated to be effective."

Recent Projects

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for Environment Canterbury throughout the development of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan, including all subsequent catchment plans and High Court appeals.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for Environment Southland on the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for Hawkes Bay Regional Council for a proposed Water Conservation Order on the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers.

  • Being appointed by the EPA as Counsel for the Board of Inquiry on NZTA's application for notices of requirement and resource consents for the East West Link proposal, a project of national significance.

  • Advising Environment Canterbury on its application under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act 1997 to register rabbit haemorrhagic virus (RHDV1 KK5 variant) for the control of pest rabbits.

  • Advising Environment Canterbury throughout the development of the Canterbury Regional Pest Management Plan.

  • Advising Southland Regional Council on the Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan.

  • Advising Hawke's Bay Regional Council on the Hawke's Bay Regional Pest Management Plan.

  • Advising Southland Regional Council on Controlled Area notices for an area of Breaksea Sound in Fiordland to prevent further spread of Undaria.

  • Acting for Environment Canterbury throughout the development of the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, including advising on the use of ultra-low emission wood burners and wood burner testing methods and resolution of subsequent High Court appeals.

  • Obtaining resource consents and negotiating significant reductions in development contributions payable for large commercial developments in Selwyn District and Christchurch City.

  • Providing strategic advice to the corporate owner of a large shopping centre in relation to expansion options.

  • Obtaining resource consents for subdivision and land use in the Timaru District.

  • Undertaking a comprehensive review of a local authority's resource consent division.

  • Acting for H W Richardson Group Limited in a successful private plan change to extend the zoning of existing industrial land in Invercargill to enable business expansion.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for Environment Canterbury on contentions quarrying consent applications, including appeals to the Environment Court.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for Environment Canterbury on TrustPower Limited's application to amend the National Water Conservation (Rakaia River) Order 1998.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel for a forestry operator seeking declarations in the Environment Court in relation to the harvesting of commercial forestry in the Marlborough Sounds.

  • Acting as lead advisor to Environment Canterbury and Southland Regional Council on contentious resource consent applications for the discharge of stormwater from city council reticulated stormwater networks.

  • Advising Environment Canterbury and Southland Regional Council on the use of emergency powers under the RMA.

  • Advising Environment Canterbury on the development and implementation of the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan.

  • Advising on the potential imposition of bonds on the proposed transfer of mining licences.

  • Acting as Lead Counsel on a judicial review application in the High Court in relation to decisions not to notify a resource consent application.

  • Advising on the drafting of special legislation passed under urgency following the Hurunui/Kaikoura earthquakes.

  • Advising local authorities on the disclosure of official information and procedural requirements under LGOIMA for local authorities, including liaising with the Ombudsman's Office.

Recent Articles


Essential freshwater – new rules released for freshwater management

On the eve of the house rising for the last time before the election, Government released the highly anticipated new national direction on freshwater management - a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM 2020), new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESFW), new stock exclusion regulations, and amendments to the regulations for the measurement and reporting of water takes.

Keep reading...


Success - a constant change

We’ve now had chance to settle into 2020, hopefully well rested and with renewed enthusiasm for the year ahead. With renewed enthusiasm and all of the potential for the months to come, thoughts turn to how best to harness the opportunities that will be presented along the way.

Keep reading...


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...


Next steps for Fresh Water: Consultation Document

The Government is currently seeking feedback on its proposed changes to the way fresh water is managed. A consultation document published last month acknowledges the multitude of pressures on fresh water resources such as the discharge of pollutants, erosion, the effects of climate change and irrigation. Such pressures have led to declining water quality and over-allocation in many freshwater bodies.

Keep reading...


Amending A Resource Consent Application Post-Notification - How Far Can You Go?

Situations often arise during the resource consent process where an applicant may wish to change its application after the application has been notified.  The changes may result from concerns raised in submissions, a request for further information from a consent authority, or at the suggestion of the consent authority itself.  The applicant’s own advisers may even suggest that the application be amended to incorporate changes to better serve the applicant’s needs.  This raises the question of whether an applicant can amend an application after it has been notified, without the need to re-notify the application.

Keep reading...

Reported Decisions

  • Amuri Irrigation Company Ltd v Canterbury Regional Council [2016] NZRMA 1

  • Hurunui Water Project Ltd v Canterbury Regional Council (2015) 19 ELRNZ 19, [2016] NZRMA 71

  • Sutton v Canterbury Regional Council [2015] NZRMA 93

  • PGG Wrightsons Ltd v Mid Canterbury Real Estate [2009] DCR 515

  • Williams v Cazemier [2009] 11 NZCPR 79

  • Road Metals Company Ltd v Selwyn District Council [2013] NZRMA 41

  • Johns Road Horticulture Ltd v Christchurch City Council (No 9) [2011] NZEnvC 185

  • West Coast Regional Council v Marsh DC Christchurch CRI-2010-018-000695, 15 June 2011

  • Canterbury Regional Council v Christchurch City Council ENC Christchurch C134/08, 5 December 2008

  • Briggs v Christchurch City Council ENC Christchurch C113/08, 11 September 2008

  • Briggs v Christchurch City Council ENC Christchurch C045/08, 24 April 2008

  • Canterbury Regional Council v Takamatua West Ltd DC Christchurch CRI-2007-009-4858, 4 April 2008

  • White v Christchurch City Council ENC Christchurch C079/07, 15 June 2007

  • Frater v Christchurch City Council ENC Christchurch C124/06, 20 September 2006


  • New Zealand Law Society Standards Committee

  • New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Insolvency Special Interest Group

  • Resource Management Law Association
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