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Wynn Williams’ specialist team in Resource Management and Environmental Law has a nationwide reputation for achieving outstanding results for our clients. We are recommended as a Leading Firm for Projects and Resource Management (including Environmental Law) by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022, and Chambers and Partners 2022 legal directories.

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.

Reported Decisions

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

Recent Projects

  • We have been the lead legal adviser to Environment Canterbury in respect of the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan and all subsequent plan changes from notification in August 2012 to now. We have 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 and all subsequent plan changes, including a range of issues associated with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
  • Our team also advised Environment Canterbury on the review and development of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement, including review of the section 32 report, section 42A reports, attendance at hearing and resolution of appeals (to the High Court on points of law).
  • We acted for Environment Canterbury on the development of the Canterbury Air Regional Plan, throughout all stages of the bespoke Canterbury planning process. This has also included the provision of advice on interpretation and implementation of the Air Plan.
  • Our team has acted for Environment Southland on the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan, on all stages from the development through to continuing Environment Court hearings on 24 appeals (in 2019 and 2020). This has included providing strategic advice on the architecture of the plan, assisting with the preparation of expert technical evidence, assisting the Council through mediation processes, as well as providing advice to other Council departments on the implementation of the proposed plan.
  • We are acting for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council regarding a proposed Water Conservation Order on the Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers. We have provided a range of strategic and legal advice throughout this process, from hearings before a Special Tribunal through to an upcoming Environment Court hearing.
  • We have advised the Northland Regional Council regarding the proposed Regional Plan for Northland. This has involved providing strategic advice on the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, as well as acting for the Council on a number of Environment Court appeals (being heard throughout 2020).
  • We were appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority to advise the Board of Inquiry with respect to hearings on the East-West Link proposal, being a proposal of national significance. This involved providing independent advice to the Board (chaired by retired High Court Justice Dr Priestley QC) on the interpretation and implementation of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, Auckland Regional Policy Statement and Auckland Regional Plan.
  • We have acted (and are continuing to act) for Queenstown Lakes District Council on several appeals seeking resource consents, involving interpretation and the weighting of the Operative District Plan and Proposed District Plan.
  • We have experience advising on Biosecurity Act 1993 matters, including providing advice to a number of regional councils throughout the development of their Regional Pest Management Plans. This included acting for Environment Canterbury on its Regional Pest Management Plan, and acting for Environment Southland (including appearing at the council hearing) on its Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan.
  • The team has recently been acting for a private developer to obtain resource consent for a large subdivision. This involved advising and assisting with the application to the territorial authority, appearing at the Council hearing, and appearing before the Environment Court regarding appeals on conditions imposed on the consent. This application involved a significant amount of technical expert evidence across a range of disciplines, and had particular complexities due to the biodiversity of the area.
  • The team also has extensive experience with private plan changes. This includes 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. The team continues to act for developers seeking to obtain private plan changes.
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