Resource Management & Environmental Law
A national reputation for outstanding results
Wynn Williams’ specialist team in Resource Management and Environmental Law has a nationwide reputation for achieving outstanding results for our clients.

The team is renowned for managing complex projects, from inception through to appeals. We can assist where legislation or planning documents impact on what you can or cannot do with your land, business, home or resources.  We take a "whole of client" approach to providing advice, with a particular emphasis on finding practical solutions to achieve identified outcomes. 

This team of skilled advocates is experienced in all facets of Environmental Law litigation. From acting for applicants and submitters at council hearings, running complex litigation in the Environment Court, or in the appellate courts, we've successfully done it all.

The team regularly advises on new resource management related legislation, including impacts on property owners and local authorities, implementing new or amended National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards, and engaging with central government on legislative change.

We are recommended and recognised as a leading firm for Projects and Resource Management (including Environmental Law) by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020, Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020 and Chambers Global 2020 legal guides.

Comments from clients include “The team as a whole is exceedingly competent.  They are always available to us and respond well even under tight timeframes”, "The team is very down-to-earth without any airs and is really easy to work with” and “Wynn Williams offers a seamless extension of our business – they work well with others across our business..."

Other clients have said "I'm really impressed by their level of attention to detail, professionalism and accessibility." and "The proposal they handled for us was complex, but their work was extremely impressive..."


Recent Projects

  • Providing advice in relation to regional planning documents managing natural resources to local authorities.
  • Advising local authorities on procedural requirements under the Local Government Act 2002 and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.
  • Advising several local authorities in relation to judicial review proceedings.
  • Providing advice in relation to development contributions.
  • Undertaking environmental due diligence in respect of commercial properties throughout New Zealand.
  • Assisting in successfully obtaining resource consents for commercial clients.
  • Appearing at a Council hearing and successfully obtaining a certificate of compliance for workers’ accommodation in an industrial zone (contested by the council).
  • Part of the legal team assisting a private developer with obtaining resource consent for a large subdivision, including assisting with subsequent Environment Court appeals.
  • Part of the legal team acting for Environment Canterbury in judicial review proceedings relating to water bottling activities.
  • Appearing as junior counsel in the High Court on appeal from a declaration decision of the Environment Court relating to an advice note in the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan.
  • 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.
  • We have been the lead legal adviser to Environment Canterbury in respect of the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. From notification in August 2012 to the release of decisions, we provided a range of strategic and legal advice in relation to the myriad of issues raised by submitters concerning the process for preparing the plan and the plan's content. We also provided strategic advice about the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. There were nine appeals lodged in the High Court, involving numerous interested parties. We continue to advise the Council on these appeals, including jurisdictional, merits and strategic advice.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury on its 2013 Canterbury Regional Policy Statement. We provided advice in relation to the Council's hearing of submissions and acted for the Council in respect of the four High Court appeals lodged on the Council's decision, which we successfully resolved.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury throughout the hearing process of the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan. Which was the first catchment plan in Canterbury to implement the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011.
  • Acting for Environment Canterbury in its review of its Air Plan, advising on the use of ultra-low emission wood burners and the ability to make changes to the Air Plan using the powers under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act.
  • We are the lead legal provider for both Environment Canterbury and the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy Partners, including acting for the UDS Partners in judicial review proceedings against part of the Minister for Earthquake Recovery's decision to approve the Land Use Recovery Plan under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act.
  • Advised a major insurance company on the rebuild and repair of units on multi-unit sites (cross leases and unit titles). We have been managing applications for resource consent, subdivision consent and building consent on a number of difficult rebuilds and repairs.
  • We completed a comprehensive review of a local authority's resource consent division and has also reviewed processing protocols, including assessing existing protocols, redrafting protocols, delivery of updated protocols and providing training in relation to implementation.
  • Our team acts for a property developer developing a large format retail site in suburban Christchurch. We successfully acted to rezone the retail centre land to allow for more enabling zoning, as well as successfully obtaining resource consents to provide for alternative access into the retail centre.
  • Successfully acted for a property developer in Selwyn to ensure that changes made to the Selwyn District Plan did not adversely affect the operation of its shopping centre, nor cause unintended consequences for the proposed development of its other land.
  • Acted 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.
  • Advised a number of clients in relation to the implications of the Christchurch City District Plan review.
  • We have a long standing history of advising contracting depots and land based quarry owners and have successfully obtained resource consents for those activities in a number of districts in New Zealand.
  • We represented Environment Canterbury in an appeal to the Environment Court in relation to the Council's decision to decline an application for resource consent to take and use water for irrigation.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury on Trustpower Limited's application to amend the National Water Conservation (Rakaia River) Order 1988, including preparing evidence and delivering legal submissions at the hearing.
  • Acted for Environment Canterbury in relation to resource consent applications to establish a land-based quarry in Rolleston, which was processed by way of direct referral to the Environment Court.



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.

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No longer sustainable? A new direction for New Zealand’s resource management system

In a report released Wednesday 29 July, the Resource Management Review Panel (Panel) recommended major changes to New Zealand’s resource management system.

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RMA refreshed? Changes to the Resource Management Act enacted

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 came into force this week. The amendments will have significant implications for local authorities, particularly in the freshwater and climate change space.

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Our Freshwater 2020: Government issues report examining pressing issues for freshwater

The Ministry for the Environment along with Stats NZ have released Our Freshwater 2020, summarising updates and reporting on progress on four priority freshwater issues. Our Freshwater 2020 is the latest report on the state of the environment required under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 and builds on Our Freshwater 2017.

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It’s a building…it’s a vehicle…it’s a tiny house!

A number of recent Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment determinations, and District and Environment Court decisions have discussed the legality of ‘tiny houses’, and specifically the question of whether they need to comply with the requirements of the Building Act 2004 and Resource Management Act 1991.

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‘Accessible Streets’ rule package proposed by the Associate Minister of Transport

The Associate Minister of Transport has proposed an ‘Accessible Streets’ rule package which seeks to improve the safety and efficiency of multiple types of transport.

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COVID-19: Consultation timeframes extended for Government policy documents

The Ministry for the Environment has extended the consultation timeframes for the proposed National Environmental Standards for the Outdoor Storage of Tyres and proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality. In addition, the Ministry of Transport has extended the consultation timeframe for the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport.

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Keeping New Zealand moving – draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport

The Government is seeking feedback on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport for 2021/22 – 2030/31 (GPS 2021). The GPS 2021 aims to provide direction to those who are planning, assessing and making decisions on investment of the National Land Transport Fund (Fund) over the next 10 years.

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Government proposes national environmental standard for outdoor tyre storage

The Government is seeking feedback on the proposed National Environmental Standard for the Outdoor Storage of Tyres (NES). When tyres are stored outdoors, they pose a fire risk and can leach toxic substances into the soil and harbour pests.

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The beginning of a new era for Christchurch? Amendments to the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016

Nine years on from the devastating earthquake of February 2011, the Government has heralded a movement to a new era of regeneration for Christchurch through the introduction of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill (Bill) to Parliament.

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A breath of fresh air – Government proposes amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality

The Government announced on Wednesday 26 February that it is consulting on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ). The NESAQ is the primary mechanism for regulating air quality at a national level, with standards covering particulate matter and other pollutants.

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Take 19 – another Resource Management Amendment Act

Last week the Minister for the Environment, Hon David Parker, introduced the Resource Management Amendment Bill (Bill) to the house. The Bill proposes to repeal a number of the changes to the RMA that were introduced by the previous coalition Government in the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA) and otherwise includes some easy ‘wins’ for this Government.

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Plan making post King Salmon: the approach is clearer, not necessarily easier

In a recent High Court decision Auckland Council v Cabra Rural Developments Ltd [2019] NZHC 1892, the Court provided guidance on a range of fundamental issues in plan making. This note outlines the Environment Court and High Court decisions and sets out three key takeaways that anyone involved in plan-making processes should bear in mind.

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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.

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Planning for successful cities – a proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development

The Government has announced consultation on a new National Policy Statement on Urban Development, intended to replace the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016.

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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.

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Review with caution: trade competitors and judicial review under the Resource Management Act 1991

A recent High Court decision demonstrates the difficulties faced by trade competitors, with ulterior commercial motives, challenging decisions made under the Resource Management Act 1991 (Act).

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Change continues in resource management law: what’s coming in 2019?

2018 produced and foreshadowed a number of important changes in the resource management and environmental space. 2019 looks set to provide a raft of further changes. Most people are back at work now and gearing up for the year ahead – what better time to reflect on what 2018 brought and look ahead at some of the things we know are coming in 2019.

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The pitfalls of Airbnb

In Christchurch, and around the country, home owners and renters alike have been renting out their spare bedrooms and baches to visitors via websites like Airbnb. The explosion in listings on these sites has led to complaints from neighbours about noisy guests (in turn leading to compliance action being taken by district and city councils), and complaints that the hosts (i.e., the person renting the room to guests) are not paying their fair share in rates.

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Money doesn’t usually grow on trees, so have your say on the proposed amendments to the Emissions Trading Scheme

The Ministry for the Environment is currently consulting on a suite of proposed amendments to the Emissions Trading Scheme; New Zealand’s principal policy response to climate change.

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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.

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More changes for local authorities and plantation forestry

As we count down to the National Environment Standards for Plantation Forestry coming into force on 1 May 2018, amendments have been gazetted this week that will have implications for how local authorities recognise the NES in their plans.

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Further protection for New Zealand's marine environment

From 15 May 2018, all commercial and recreational vessel operators will need to comply with the Craft Risk Management Standard (the Standard) for Biofouling on Vessels arriving into New Zealand Territory. This represents a significant step forward in marine biosecurity management in New Zealand as we will become the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide standard for biofouling to prevent pests entering our waters from overseas.

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A new infringement system for conservation related offending

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.

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Water, water everywhere - but not a drop to drink

Following the August 2016 outbreak of campylobacteriosis in Havelock North, the Government established an inquiry to investigate and report on the outbreak. The Stage One Report was released on 8 May 2017 and identified what happened, the cause of the outbreak and provided an assessment of the people and agencies responsible for providing safe drinking water to Havelock North.

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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.

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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.

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PCE calls for a legislated process to reduce emissions

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's latest report, released on 27 July 2017, highlights and addresses the lack of a clear process to achieving New Zealand's emissions reduction targets.

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National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry

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.

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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).

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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.

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The future of the Resource Management Act – is the current Resource Legislation Amendment Bill the final amendment?

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is currently progressing through Parliament whilst Government is undertaking other pieces of significant work in relation to the New Zealand planning system, which brings into question the fate of the Resource Management Act 1991.

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Changes to freshwater management

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.

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Have your say on the Draft New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy

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.

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Scope widened on National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities

The Government has recently responded to an evolving telecommunications landscape as it continues to roll out additional national planning direction in the form of national policy statements (NPSs) and national environmental standards (NESs). On 1 January 2017, the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016 (NESTF 2016) will replace the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2008 (NESTF 2008).

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Resource Legislation Amendment Bill and the NPS on Urban Development Capacity

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.

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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.

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National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity not just for Auckland

As foreshadowed in the 2016 Budget announcement, the Government has released the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS UDC) for consultation. What might surprise many is that it is not just set to address the problem in the Auckland region, but Tauranga, Hamilton, Queenstown and Christchurch are also grouped in the "High Growth Urban Area" category.

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The New Framework to Regenerate Christchurch

Christchurch has a new legal framework to support regeneration over the next five years. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 ("CER Act") expired on 19 April 2016 and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is no more. The CER Act has been replaced by the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 (the "Act").

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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.

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A New Marine Protected Areas Act: Does More Flexibility Result In Better Protection?

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.

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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.

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Please sir, may I have a certificate of compliance?

What is a certificate of compliance? • A consent authority issues a certificate of compliance under section 139 of the Resource Management Act 1991 ("RMA") to confirm that an activity can be done lawfully in a particular location without a resource consent (i.e as a permitted activity). A certificate of compliance is treated as a resource consent and provides certainty to a resource user that their activity does not require a resource consent.

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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.

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6 months or bust

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.

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Simplifying and Streamlining in the information age - are we focusing on the right things?

The following article appeared in the August 2014 edition of the Resource Management Journal (August 2014 RMJ) The Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA) relies on public participation to inform council plan- making, principally in the form of consultation under clause 3 of Schedule 1, the submission and further submission processes, and through appeals to the Environment Court. District and regional plans are documents that people “order their lives by” and so it is of paramount importance that the public are given the opportunity to be involved in the processes to establish those plans.

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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.

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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.

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RM Reform Update - November 2013

Reform in the resource management field continues with the announcement on 7 November 2013 of proposed changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 ("NPS"). This RMA reform update relates to the proposed amendments to the NPS; along with an update on the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 (and changes to section 32 which come into force in December); and the further RMA reform signalled by the Government.

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AEE's and the need to get it right - watch this space

The litigation regarding noise associated with New Zealand Windfarms Limited's Te Rere Hau wind farm continues, with leave granted by the High Court for Palmerston North City Council to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Palmerston North City Council v New Zealand Windfarms Limited [2013] NZHC 2654, 11 October 2013 Williams J.).

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West Coast Ent Inc v Buller Coal Limited

The Supreme Court has recently released its decision West Coast ENT Inc v Buller Coal Limited [2013] NZSC 87, upholding the earlier findings of the Environment Court and the High Court that the effects of coal combustion on climate change are irrelevant to the resource consent process.

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Existing Use Rights and The Christchurch Rebuild

Existing use rights under the Resource Management Act (RMA) have an important role to play in the Rebuild of Christchurch.

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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.

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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".

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Select Committee Reports back on Resource Management Reform Bill

On 11 June 2013, the Local Government and Environment Select Committee released its report on the Resource Management Reform Bill with a majority recommendation that it be passed with amendment.

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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.

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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.

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Government casts rod on submissions for freshwater reform

In a jointly released initiative, the Minister for the Environment Amy Adams and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy have called for submissions on New Zealand's freshwater management regime.

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Reliance on bare or bald assertions: a one-way ticket to a certificate of non-compliance

Recent litigation has seen the High Court provide a timely reminder to consent authorities about the scope of their obligations when processing applications for Certificates of Compliance. As the decisions show, these obligations, if left unfulfilled, can result in costly, time consuming judicial review proceedings to the eventual detriment of applicants, consent authorities and affected third parties.

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RM Update: More direction from central government in second phase of reforms to the RMA

Minister for the Environment, Hon. Amy Adams released a discussion document on the next phase of reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 (the "RMA") on 28 February 2013.  Further reforms to the RMA had been anticipated following amendments made in 2009 to simplify and streamline parts of the Act. 

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CERA Acquisitions for Anchor Projects

The Christchurch Central City Recovery Plan could result in the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority compulsorily acquiring large tracts of the central city for the Anchor Projects.

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Summary of Decisions Requested on Proposed Plans - the Importance of Getting it Right

Many local authorities around the country are in the process of reviewing regional and district plans, prior to notifying proposed new versions of those documents.  Interested persons will be able to lodge submissions and further submissions on the proposed plans.

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When the RMA bites

One of our resource management partners Amanda Douglas writes an article for the Q& M New Zealand Quarrying & Mining about the Resource Management Act.

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Compulsory Acquisition in the Central City

Many landowners in the central city have now received letters from CERA, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, informing them that their land in the central city has been designated for Anchor Projects under the Central City Recovery Plan.  This article describes the processes of designation, acquisition and compensation under the CER Act.

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Councils' Duty of Care to Purchasers of Subdivided Land

The High Court at Greymouth has recently found that a council does have a case to answer where it incorrectly certifies conditions of subdivision have been met and a subsequent purchaser of the land relies on those certifications.

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Road Metals Limited v Selwyn District Council and Environment Canterbury

Road Metals Company Limited (Road Metals) sought consent to establish and operate a quarry, involving surface extraction of river metals from a property in Burnham adjacent to Rolleston. Both district and regional consents were needed.

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The Christchurch CBD Blueprint: Resource Management Issues

The blueprint for the Central City has been released, so what does it mean – particularly if you own property in the Central City?  How does it affect existing activities in the new zones?

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Prosecution Risks under the Resource Management Act 1991

Did you hear the one about the developer, the contractor, the sub-contractor and the engineer?  The contractor was responsible for the earthworks, the sub contractor carried out the works, the developer assured the contractor that no resource consents were required and the engineer oversaw the project.  Who do you think was prosecuted when unconsolidated sediment made its way into streams and, ultimately, the sea, following heavy rain?

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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.

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Successful Judicial Review proceedings for Akaroa Marine Protection Society

The Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society Inc (the "Society") made an application in 1995 seeking a marine reserve within the Akaroa Harbour. The Minister of Conservation (the "Minister") declined the application on the basis that the reserve would unduly interfere with or adversely affect existing recreational use of the area, particularly for recreational fishing.

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Fracking in Canterbury - What is it and how is it controlled?

Mining is a divisive issue in New Zealand. Deniston Plateau, offshore exploration, Save Happy Valley and Schedule 4 land are terms that invoke diverging opinions and heated discussions.

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Biosecurity Law Reform Bill

The Biosecurity Law Reform Bill was introduced to Parliament on 10 December 2010. It has been referred
to the Primary Production select committee, with submissions due by Thursday 10 February 2011.

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Aquaculture Reform

The Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No 3) was introduced in Parliament on 16 November 2010.  It has been referred to the Primary Production select committee, with submissions due by Friday 11 February 2011.

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Priority and Notifiability of Applications for Consent - Central Plains Water

The Central Plains Water saga - all the way up to the Supreme Court, and this is just the preliminary
skirmishing. The hearing of CPW's application to take water for irrigation, by the Council's commissioners,
has not yet concluded - so appeals on the actual application are still just a twinkle in the parties' eyes.

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Existing Use Rights and the Permitted Baseline - Rodney District Council v Eyres Eco-Park Limited

The Courts in this litigation examined the relationship between existing use rights and the permitted
baseline, and the relationship between the common law permitted baseline and the statutory permitted
baseline. They also provided guidance on the date at which existing use rights are assessed, where
activities lessen over time and further restricting rules are introduced.

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Appellants Giving Evidence as Expert Witnesses - Briggs

Finally, a warning sounded by the Court in the case of Briggs v Christchurch City Council, where the Court
said it was drawing a line in the sand about parties giving expert evidence to the Court in their own cases.

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Prohibited Activities - The Coromandel Watchdog Case

The Court of Appeal's decision in this case produced a major change in the approach which should be taken
to prohibited activity status. There was a very restricted view taken by the lower courts in this case, and
other cases. The Court of Appeal has said that there are quite a few circumstances in which it is
appropriate to make an activity a prohibited activity in a plan.

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Running to Stand Still - Legislative Changes & Implications for Territorial Authority Compliance - R

This paper sets out some of the amendments brought into effect by the Resource Management (Simplifying
and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009, which impact on resource consent applications. Whether you are
a council planner applying the amendments to the processing of an application or a consultant planner
preparing an application and steering it through the processing stage, you need to know the ins and outs of
the amendments.

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Technical Paper: Implications of Resource Management Act Amendments in the Transportation Area

An outline of the amendments to the Resource Management Act which came into effect on 1 October
2009, with particular focus on amendments which impact on the processes and practices of transport
engineers and planners.

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Simplifying and Streamlining of Resource Consent Applications

The Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009 came into effect on 1
October 2009, bringing a number of changes aimed at ‘simplifying and streamlining’ a number of resource
management processes.

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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.

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Reported Decisions

  • Infinity Investment Group Holdings Ltd v Canterbury Regional Council [2017] NZEnvC 35, [2017] NZEnvC 36, [2017] NZRMA 479

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