President’s Report – April 2012

Dear Members

The National Committee has been busy on a number of matters in the first quarter this year.  We continue to be appraised of central government’s reform agenda as it relates to environmental matters and the management of natural resources in particular.  The recent resignation of Dr Nick Smith and the transition to Amy Adams as the incoming Minister for the Environment, will require the Association to build new links at ministerial level.

It is the intention of the National Committee to work with the incoming Minister in relation to seeking common goals, particularly relating to the practicality and the workability of legislative proposals and regulations.  To this end we are seeking a meeting with Minister Adams to further the longstanding relationship the Association has developed with the Minister’s office over the years.

The National Committee continues the practice of teleconferencing every second Committee meeting and to doing as much Association business on-line as we can.  We are always looking for ways to reduce the costs of running the Association and were concerned at the administrative costs incurred with running the election for the National Committee last year.  It was the first time an election was needed for a number of years but the postage costs and returning officer duties were more than expected and would be so for each year that an election is held.  In response we have resolved to use an independent and confidential on-line election service (electionz.com) should an election be required this year.  This will halve the administration costs of running elections in the future.

Andrea Rickard and Bal Matheson are continuing their review of the Association’s awards criteria and processes with the help of the National Committee.  This will be completed in time for this year’s awards round.  Now is a good time to start thinking about those people, projects and publications etc that you have been involved in that would be contenders for recognition this year.

There have been some changes with the Association’s personnel in key positions over the last month or so and acknowledgements are due.  Thanks to Gael Ogilvie for her work as Climate Change SIG convenor which she has relinquished following a career change.  I would also like to acknowledge the retirement of Dr Mike Patrick, resident scientist on the Editorial Board and to extend the Association’s thanks to Mike for his years of service in this role.  He has been replaced by Professor Bruce Clarkson, Director of the Environmental Research Institute at the University of Waikato – Welcome Bruce! 

Welcome also to James Gardner–Hopkins, Cameron Twigley and Andy Carr who are now the Chairmen of the Wellington, Taranaki and Canterbury Branches respectively.  Our regional branch structure is one of our key strengths and the regional committees do a great job in maintaining the Association’s vibrancy and relevance to members with opportunities for networking and other events.  Thanks go to Angela Rego (Wellington), Lauren Wallace (Taranaki) and David Caldwell (Canterbury) for their work over the last couple of years in this regard.  Big thanks also to the committee from the Queenstown branch who continue developing the programme for this year’s conference.  It is shaping up to be a must attend event so remember to diary it in for 27 to 29 September.

This month’s newsletter contains a request from Jeff Montgomery the new National Manager of Specialist Courts for the Ministry of Justice in which he makes an open invitation to members to contact him to discuss Environment Court experiences.  National Committee Court’s Portfolio Conveners (Simon Berry and Martin Williams) will be meeting with him in the near future to advance ideas for improving court practice and would be keen to discuss your thoughts as well.  They can be contacted either directly or through Karol.

Blair Dickie