Our specialist Environmental Law & Planning team is recognised as one of New Zealand's best. Its standing is recognised in the Legal 500, Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific and Doyle’s Guide legal directories.
The team of respected strategists are also proven and revered litigators. We have decades of experience in the development of resource management plans for councils throughout New Zealand - many of which have become known for setting best practice benchmarks. Admired for our innovation in planning, environmental and natural resources law, we are at the forefront of freshwater planning in New Zealand and are frequently engaged as specialist advisors in this space. With a strong grasp on the finer details of environmental law, we're engaged by councils and industry to advise on environmental risk and responsibility and navigate the legislative framework to achieve desired outcomes.
We also have a history of working with teams of expert consultants to achieve great outcomes in complex consenting cases. Our track record includes obtaining resource consents for residential, industrial and retail developments throughout New Zealand and defending decisions on appeal.
Our advice is accurate, well-researched, and pragmatic.
How we can help
We take a long-term approach to planning, offering guidance and advice that will stand our clients in good stead for years to come. Our specialist team are available to help in a wide array of matters including:
- Advised on proposed plan changes 7 and 8 to the Regional Plan: Water. Proposed plan change 1 to the Regional Plan: Waste. These plan changes have been 'called-in' by the Minister for the Environment
- Acting for Otago Regional Council on its 'called in' proposed Plan Changes 7 and 8 to the Regional Plan: Water and proposed Plan Change 1 to the Regional Plan: Waste
- Acting for Canterbury Regional Council throughout the development and hearing of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan and Canterbury Air Regional Plan (as well as associated plan changes)
- Advising Te Tai o Poutini Plan Committee (a committee made up of iwi representatives, the West Coast Regional Council, Buller, Westland and Grey District Councils) on the delivery of a combined District Plan for the region
- Advising on the proposed Northland Regional Plan on the Proposed Regional Plan for Northland, a combined coastal, air, land and water plan
- Acted for Queenstown Lakes District Council on several appeals to the Environment Court and High Court, alongside judicial review proceedings in the High Court
- Advising Environment Southland on the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan
- Advising Environment Southland on all aspects of regional resource consenting processes
- Acting for Queenstown Lakes District Council on appeals to the Environment Court and High Court and defending judicial review proceedings
- Obtaining resource consents for an 850 lot greenfield subdivision in the Waikato, for boutique lake-front visitor accommodation development in Rotorua and comprehensive retail developments in Christchurch
- Advising requiring authorities and submitters on designation processes
- Appearing for Canterbury Regional Council and Otago Regional Council in the Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal on appeals and judicial reviews relating to water permits, stormwater, quarrying and other regional issues
Central Government's Essential Freshwater Package had admirable ambitions: halting degradation of freshwater, making improvement to water quality within five years and reversing past damage to waterways and ecosystems within a generation. As if that wasn't ambitious enough, Government also set its sights on preventing further loss of one of New Zealand's most valuable ecosystems - wetlands.
The Governor-General by Order in Council recently passed the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Amendment Regulations 2022 (the 2022 Regs), which contain some important changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (the Principal Regs) relating to intensive winter grazing.
2022 is shaping up to be yet another busy year for local government. There has been a recent flurry of activity on proposed reforms for a range of topics, from climate change to three waters, drinking water and housing. Of course we cannot forget Government's intention to proceed full-steam ahead with the replacement of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), with new legislation due to be introduced to Parliament in the third quarter of this year.
The Severe Weather Emergency Legislation Act 2023 (the Act) was passed into law on 20 March 2023, just six days after its introduction to the House. In the time between our last update and the passing of the Act, some small but important amendments were made...
It has been a long and winding road, but the Government has achieved its aspirations to reform the resource management system in New Zealand. The replacement legislation, the Natural and Built Environment Act (NBEA) and the Spatial Planning Act (SPA) was given Royal Assent on 23 August 2023.
On 27 June 2023, the Environment Committee presented its reports on the Natural and Built Environment Bill (NBE Bill) and Spatial Planning Bill to Parliament. The Bills will repeal and reform New Zealand’s environmental law, currently enshrined in the Resource Management Act 1991.
To help with your watercooler chat, this article contains our five key takeaways from the Committee’s report on the NBE Bill.
The Supreme Court has ruled that weathertightness defects can be delineated from other building defects in an insurance claim by the Napier City Council against its insurer, Local Government Mutual Funds Trustee Ltd (RiskPool). The insurance contract between the two parties contained an exclusion clause disclaiming RiskPool's liability for any claims relating to weathertightness defects. The Supreme Court's decision has significant implications for the relationship between local councils and their insurers, and how defective building claims which involve weathertightness defects are dealt with.