Regional News – June 2012

Auckland – Rachel Devine

May was a busy month for RMLA Auckland branch with more to come next month.

We have most recently heard from Ree Anderson, speaking about the Auckland Plan. Ms Anderson is from Auckland Council and provided a stimulating presentation describing the Council’s learnings from the spatial planning process and in particular how housing would be accommodated. The event was well attended at the offices of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts with over 60 attendees, all providing excellent feedback on the night.

Our next event will be hosted by Kensington Swan, with Penny Perrit from Auckland Council presenting on 27 June 2012.  Penny will follow on from Ree’s presentation by focusing the audience’s attention on the Unitary Plan.  Flyers will be circulated soon and we are expecting a similarly good turn out for this event as well.

Also coming up is a road show workshop.  It concerns Expert Conferencing and will be hosted by Bell Gully on 20 July 2012.  The workshop will cover a variety of items, ranging from the purpose and practice of expert conferencing to timing and evidence preparation and the Environment Court Practice Note Code of Conduct. This event will be chaired by Dave Serjeant, with a panel of experts and will be running from 8:30am.

Following on from the workshop will be a discussion with Judge Newhook. The Court is keen to engage with resource management practitioners about their experiences with the Environment Court regarding case management and issues relating to process or procedures.  Details regarding both the workshop and discussion will be released in due course.

And an event coming up soon for the Younger members is an informal evening to meet the Environment Court Judges, Commissioners and Court Staff of the Auckland Environment Court – details will be released as soon as these are finalised.

Waikato – Lachlan Muldowney

There are several events planned for members of the Waikato Branch commencing on 21 June with a breakfast seminar on Oceans Governance when three highly experienced legal practitioners seminar will speak about the new statutory controls and their implications for the coastal marine environment. Another date for the diary is 2 August  when the branch will host a roadshow/workshop on expert conferencing. The workshop will be a mix of theory and discussion, and will be run by a panel comprising an Environment Court Judge, Commissioner, lawyer and subject matter experts.   Attendance flyers for both events will be sent to members shortly. Suggestions for branch events are always welcomed and can be sent to myself or Shaun Plant (07 839 4771 or splant@tomwake.co.nz).

Taranaki – Lauren Wallace

The Taranaki branch has had a reasonably quiet year so far, however we have three events planned to take place in the next few months which we are looking forward to.

The first event is the Expert Conferencing Workshop which is to be held on Wednesday 13 June 2012 from 1.00 – 4.00pm at Govett Quilliam. Joining Environment Court Judge Newhook on the panel will be Environment Court Commissioner Ross Dunlop, Kitt Littlejohn, Barrister, Damian Ellerton, Acoustic Consultant from Marshall Day Acoustics and Nik Pyselman, Environmental Planner from BTW Company Limited.  This will be followed with a one hour discussion with Judge Newhook in relation to Environment Court processes.

We will then be holding an event at the Snug Lounge in July. Jeremy Thompson and Ivan Bruce will be discussing the process involved in preserving heritage buildings, and in particular, the steps taken to restore and renovate the iconic White Hart Hotel.

Finally, the Oceans Governance RMLA roadshow is scheduled to take place on 9 August 2012. This should a be a very topical seminar for Taranaki practitioners given the oil and gas exploration taking place offshore in the Taranaki basin.

The committee also wishes to note that Rachael Megee has resigned as secretary and we would like to thank Rachael Megee for all her hard work over the past few years. We also want to thank Sarah Ongley, who has left the committee to go on maternity leave, for her help on the committee and we wish her all the best. Christopher Randall, from the Department of Conservation will be joining the committee in Sarah’s place.

Wellington – James Gardner-Hopkins

The Wellington Branch had another fantastic turnout to its Ocean Governance Seminar on 17 April, presented by David Allen (standing in for Paul Beverly) (Buddle Findlay), Robert Makgill (North South Environmental Law), and James Gardner-Hopkins (Russell McVeagh).  The Seminar is being rolled out as a national roadshow. Special thanks to Buddle Findlay for hosting the event.

The Branch also hosted its first Young RMLA event on 30 May, an informal “Meet the Judiciary” evening for young RM professionals to enjoy the opportunity to meet Environment Court Judges, Commissioners and Court staff, and to take a “behind the scenes” look at the Environment Court.  We had a stellar turn out from not only young lawyers but also planners and traffic engineers.  The event proved to be a fantastic opportunity for networking within the wider RM community.  Special thanks to the Environment Court for hosting us.  We hope to make this an annual event.

Upcoming events include a further Young RMLA seminar on “Council Hearings – Views from decision makers”, and various matters on the national roadshow circuit.  

Canterbury – Andy Carr

In May we kicked off our series of ‘101’ seminars, a series of evening events giving an overview of the more common (non-legal) technical disciplines involved in resource management.  Nearly 50 members heard Nicole Lauenstein (a+rchitecture) and Alec Bruce (Wilkie and Bruce Architects) describe the principles of urban design and the work of the Christchurch Urban Design Panel. There followed a discussion regarding the potential tension between ensuring good urban design outcomes versus the rules-based assessment required by the City Plan, and how these sometimes competing issues could be addressed in the city rebuild.  Naturally, members stayed around at the end of the talk for further discussion over some liquid refreshment! Thanks to Nicole and Alec for a fascinating presentation, and to Anthony Harper Lawyers for use of their Board Room.

Following very positive feedback from attendees, we are now planning the next in the series but in the meantime we look forward to an Expert Witnessing Workshop in mid-June and to discussing Environment Court practices with Acting Principal Environment Judge Newhook.

Nelson/Marlborough – Shoshona Goodall

The Nelson/Marlborough Branch is hosting a talk by Nelson MP Nick Smith on 11 June from 5pm at the Boathouse.  We hope that members can make it along to hear from our local MP on the first phase of RM reforms and the work that’s underway on phase two, as well as  water and local government issues.

There are also a number of roadshows coming up, and we will keep you informed of the details.

Queenstown / Central Otago – Robert Makgill

The Branch is full swing into the planning for the 2012 annual conference in Queenstown.  The social committee is narrowing down and fine tuning the main events for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  The venues will be matched to showcase the region’s best wine and food. 

The Expert Conferencing Roadshow has now been confirmed for Queenstown and the flyer distributed (to be held 18 June at the Copthorne).  The panel of local experts are Denis Nugent, Jan Caunter, Chris Ferguson and Rebecca Lucas.  We look forward to welcoming national panel experts Acting Principal Judge Newhook and Environment Commissioner Dunlop, as well as chair, Dave Serjeant.  Members are also looking forward to the discussion session with Judge Newhook and applaud the initiative and the opportunity to provide feedback on the Courts practice and procedure.