Regional News – August 2012

Auckland – Rachel Devine

Following on from last month, the RMLA has continued to host informative and interesting events focused on the current issues facing Auckland.  The Auckland Unitary Plan was the focus of a great presentation by Auckland Council at Kensington Swan’s office in late June. The Expert Conferencing Workshop was also held in July in Auckland with a fantastic response to the Panel of Experts and discussions with Judge Newhook.  We understand that these workshops will continue throughout the country next month as well.

August is likely to be busy.  Our next presentation will be one the RMLA’s famous road shows, about the technical advisory group report that has been released regarding RMA principals.  This will be hosted by Bell Gully on Thursday 16 August 2012.  Also in August, Waterfront Auckland will speak to the Young RMLA about its plans for the Waterfront and the recent Waterfront Plan on Tuesday 21 August, at Simpson Grierson.  We expect that the turnout for that presentation will also be excellent.

And finally, we have again secured the ‘Back Beat Bar’ on K’Road for our RMLA Auckland Xmas party to be held on 5 December.  So bring out your instruments, form a band and we’ll see you there!  Note the date in your diary now!

Taranaki – Lauren Wallace

The Taranaki branch has had a busy couple of months. We held the Environment Court’s Expert Conferencing Workshop on 13 June 2012. Thank you to Judge Newhook and Commissioner Dunlop,  Kitt Littlejohn, Damian Ellerton and Nik Pyselman for their insights into this process. A number of those attending had not been involved in conferencing before so the workshop provided an excellent opportunity for them to learn all about it.

The branch then held more of a social function at the Snug Lounge in the recently restored White Hart Hotel. Jeremy Thomson (owner) and Ivan Bruce (archaeologist) kindly gave the group a tour of the building and Jeremy discussed the renovation process and the high points and low points of preserving built heritage, while Ivan discussed the history of the building and its place in the  fabric of New Plymouth’s built heritage landscape. The tour was followed by drinks and yakitori and was enjoyed by all.

We now look forward to the Oceans Governance roadshow on Thursday 9 August 2012 at Govett Quilliam at 5.15pm. This is a topic that will be of particular relevance to those involved in the oil and gas industry working offshore in the Taranaki basin.

Wellington – James Gardner-Hopkins

In June the Wellington Branch hosted the Expert Witness Conferencing National Roadshow, chaired by Dave Sergeant and with the Panel comprising Acting Principal Environment Court Judge Newhook, Commissioner Dunlop and Nicky McIndoe (Principal, Chapman Tripp), Christine Foster (Senior Resource Management Consultant, EMS Ltd) and Doug Fairgray (Director, Market Economics Ltd). 

The workshop was a great success, with the panel presenting diverse views on the role and value of expert witness conferencing in the Environment Court hearing process, prompting healthy discussion and debate among those in attendance.

Coming up on the Wellington Branch schedule is a further Young RMLA seminar on “Council Hearings – Views from decision makers”, the opportunity for members to provide feedback to Judge Newhook about Environment Court practice and procedure in a forthcoming one hour discussion session and the National Roadshow workshop on the findings of the TAG Report concerning sections 6 and 7 of the RMA.