Our offices will close for the holiday period from 5.00pm Thursday 23 December 2021 and reopen at 8.30am on Thursday 13 January 2022. For urgent matters during this time, please contact Katrina Hammon on 021 221 8847, or Andrew Watkins on 021 905 506.
Thank you for your support in 2021 and we wish you all the best for the new year.
Noho ora mai

Kirstie Wyss

BA, LLB (Hons, First Class), Senior Associate

Kirstie specialises in resource management, environmental and local government law.  She regularly advises local authorities and private clients on a broad range of matters including planning, consenting, RMA enforcement action, environmental due diligence, and local government processes. 
Kirstie has particular expertise in advising regional councils on the development and implementation of freshwater management plans. 

Kirstie also spent time on secondment at a regional council, in both the enforcement and consents teams, giving her valuable insight into these RMA processes from a council's perspective.

Kirstie is recommended and recognised as a 'Next Generation Partner' by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 for her work in Projects and Resource Management.  She is described as "approachable and yet very professional".  In a previous directory a client described Kirstie as "...incredibly clear and competent".
"I enjoy the constant learning that comes with being a resource management lawyer, particularly as technology and attitudes change, from the science behind freshwater quality to the intracacies of managing activities in outstanding natural landscapes."

Recent Projects

  • Advising Environment Southland on the development and implementation of the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan, and the subsequent Environment Court appeals.

  • Acting for Environment Southland on Environment Court appeals on the proposed Invercargill City District Plan.

  • Acting for Environment Canterbury in High Court appeals on Plan Change 5 (Nutrient Management) to the Canterbury Land and Water Plan.

  • Appearing in the Environment Court on Plan Change 13 to the Mackenzie District Plan dealing with pastoral intensification in the Mackenzie Basin.

  • Advising a local authority on RMA related enforcement action, including abatement notices related to the taking of water.

  • Appearing (as junior counsel) in the Environment Court on an appeal against a decision to decline resource consent for the take and use of water for the purpose of irrigation.

  • Part of the legal team providing strategic and legal advice in relation to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and its sub-regional catchment plans.

  • Acting for a submitter on the proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan, including appearing at the hearings to obtain the rezoning of land from residential to commercial.

  • Advising on the implications of archaeological and historic sites, including under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 and district plans.

  • Advising on the rebuild and repair of units on various multi-unit sites (cross leases and unit titles) throughout Christchurch, including non-compliances with the Christchurch City Plan and existing use rights, as well as implications arising from changes to building footprints under the Resource Management Act and Unit Titles Act.

  • Advising an international client on the legal compliance of the operations of its New Zealand business, in relation to wastes and contaminants, hazardous substances, transportation and operation of construction machinery, and regulatory requirements under the RMA, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act, and Land and Transport Act.

  • Advising on the implications of the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, including drafting submissions and further submissions.

  • Advising on the process to declare land as road under the Public Works Act and road stopping under the Local Government Act.

  • Advising on delegable functions and powers of local authorities under the Local Government Act, Local Government Ratings Act, and Resource Management Act.

  • Advising on the legitimacy of powers arising under the Selwyn District Council Traffic and Parking Bylaw and successfully seeking a Council resolution to provide for a designated ambulance bay.

  • Advising on various duties and powers of local authorities under the Public Works Act, Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act, Resource Management Act, and Local Government Act, including requirements to be met for the notification and consultation of a bylaw.

  • Successfully obtaining resource consents, change of resource consent conditions, and certificates of compliance for concrete batching plants throughout New Zealand.

Recent Articles


Fresh plans for freshwater – Government proposes reform

Freshwater management has been a long-standing political hot potato. Regional councils around the country have been busy ensuring they fulfil their functions in relation to water quality and water quantity, and implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) (in its various forms) since its introduction in 2011. On 5 September 2019, the Government released its “Action for Healthy Waterways” discussion document for consultation.

Keep reading...


Sustainable growth: Government announces protections for highly productive land

The Government has recently announced a proposal to protect highly productive land and ensure it is maintained for future primary production through the introduction of a proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land.

Keep reading...


Draft National Planning Standards – painting by numbers, or draconian straitjacket?

The Ministry for the Environment has released the first set of Draft National Planning Standards for public consultation. It is expected that further standards will be developed over time. The stated intention is that national planning standards will make plans easier to use and prepare under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Keep reading...


Next wave of RMA changes in force

The second tranche of amendments introduced by the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 came into force on 18 October 2017. These amendments aim to further streamline the resource consent process, with a move away from public participation in the process in favour of a more straightforward consenting pathway.

Keep reading...


Amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 provides national direction for the management of freshwater under the Resource Management Act 1991. On 7 August 2017, the Government announced amendments to the NPSFM which will come into force on 7 September 2017.

Keep reading...


Wellington Fish and Game Council v Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council [2017] NZEnvc 37 – summary of the One Plan Declarations

This decision of the Environment Court concerns an application for various declarations made by Wellington Fish and Game Council and the Environmental Defence Society Inc, that the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council has been failing to correctly implement the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Plan.

Keep reading...


Are More Changes Afoot for the Management of Freshwater Quality?

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.

Keep reading...


Environmental reforms - a paradigm shift?

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.

Keep reading...


To approve or not to approve; that is the question.

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.

Keep reading...


LGA Reforms

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.

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...


Environmental reporting bill - All talk, no action?

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.

Keep reading...


Queenstown – A Resource Management Hotspot: Shotover Park Case Note

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.

Keep reading...


The Queenstown Central Cases - The Meaning of "Minor" and The Assessment of Non-Complying Activities

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".

Keep reading...


Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace

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.

Keep reading...


Hutt City Council v The Lower Hutt District Court [2013] NZHC 706

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.

Keep reading...


Do Council's owe a Duty of Care when Issuing S 224 Certificates?

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.

Keep reading...


Proposed Changes to the Construction Contracts Act 2002

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. 

Keep reading...


  • Canterbury Women's Legal Association

  • Resource Management Law Association


  • Kirstie Wyss "Visual Identification: Is the Current Law Sufficient to Protect Against Misidentification" (2011) OYLR
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