RMLA Regional News – August 2013

Auckland – Kitt Littlejohn

Auckland Branch events over June and July have included two hosted by our Young RMLA (now led by Sarah Scott of Simpson Grierson) as well as the annual Salmon Lecture, entitled “Righting Environmental Justice”, by the Chief Justice.

The Young RMLA facilitated “Noise 101” at Buddle Finlay and a social get together at the Britomart Country Club.  It has been reported that both events explored the same issue but from different perspectives!

The Salmon Lecture was well attended at the Northern Club on 25 July, and all were captivated by Dame Sian Elias’ insightful and provocative paper.  For those who missed it, the paper will be available in hard copy soon.

The RMA Prosecution Roadshow is on 21 August at Minter Ellison, and we have secured a special screening of the Human Scale documentary for members at the Rialto on 5 September – book on-line today!

Wellington – Jill Gregory

The Wellington branch has had a few shakes over the last few weeks but come through fine.  The earthquake forced the postponement of the NES contaminated soil roadshow which was eventually hosted by Russell McVeagh on 6 August and we thank everyone for their patience.  We also have the prosecution roadshow on 13 August at Simpson Grierson, co-hosted with our planning friends from NZPI. 

Since our last update Minter Ellison hosted the transport planning roadshow which was well attended, thanks to all those involved.  A very successful RMLA/NZPI wine tasting event was held on 6 June hosted by Mark St Clair of Hill Young Cooper and held at Russell McVeagh Offices. So as not to distort the outcome teams were randomly selected from a hat. The outcome however was clear… lawyers as a whole knew more about wine than planners.

We look forward to hosting the Environment Court advocacy seminar in October and we are continuing to work on local events.  We are hoping to organise an end of year social function, a first for the Wellington branch in a few years. 

Canterbury – Andy Carr

The past two months have been a very busy time for the Canterbury Branch.  On 25 June, we hosted ‘Geotech 101’ with Dr Jan Kupec, the Chief Geotechnical Engineer with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.  Jan’s overview of a complex and highly-technical area, and the knowledgeable and enthusiastic way in which he gave the presentation, were thoroughly appreciated by all attending. 

On 10 July, we launched the Canterbury Young RMLA so that as a branch we could better support younger practitioners in the industry.  The inaugural ‘meet and greet’ event was held at a local hostelry and was well-attended by a wide cross-section of people including lawyers, engineers, planners, architects, acousticians, project managers and others.  This was followed a couple of weeks later by a ‘Meet the Court’ event, when around 50 Young RMLA members heard from Environment Judge Jackson and Commissioner Sutherland on the “do’s and don’t’s” for younger lawyers and expert witnesses appearing in the Environment Court. This was extremely well-received and we are very grateful to the Court for enabling this to happen. With 70+names on the mailing list, the Young RMLA is going from strength to strength and will continue to be supported by the (ahem!) older RMLA.

Finally, on 31 July we hosted Phillip Ware and Genevieve Smith of Beca for the ‘Contaminated Soils’ national roadshow.  Phillip gave an overview of the NES, illustrating key areas with examples and drawing on his own experience to highlight the strengths and a few of the potential problems with the regulations. A strong turnout took full advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the experts. Thanks once again to Anthony Harper Lawyers for the use of their Board Room.

The branch committee met just before the roadshow and the rest of the year is now planned…just 153 sleeps, two national roadshows, a formal dinner, national conference and a Christmas party before 2014!

And the latest event to be advertised is the Tony Hearn QC Memorial Lecture to be held on 12 September.  Check the Events section of the website for further detai.s

Queenstown/ Central Otago – Jan Caunter

We have been enjoying a balmy second half to winter in these parts. Our mid-winter function was held at the offices of Preston Russell in Queenstown on 12 July, where much networking was done over delicious Central Otago wine and fabulous local food.

We have just hosted Beca’s contaminated sites forum, which was attended by 25 people. The open forum was a welcome change to the usual format and interesting discussion flowed from this. Attendees shared their positive and negative experiences of the NES!

The next roadshow, addressing RMA prosecutions, will be held in early September, to be followed in late October by the Environment Court’s presentation on court advocacy skills.

We continue to circulate our email newsletters several times a year, the most recent being forwarded to Branch members in June. These newsletters inform members of upcoming Branch events, reports on plan changes progressing through Council and reviews recent cases from the Queenstown and Central Otago districts.