RMLA Regional News – December 2013

Kitt Littlejohn, Auckland

Seasons greetings from Auckland. 

The Auckland Branch has just rounded off its year with its Christmas Function – a Quiz Night at the magnificent Bluestone Room.  A good crowd of 70 or so turned out to test their general and specialist knowledge.  Winners on the night were Andrew Stewart Limited, with second place a tie between Russell McVeagh and Market Economics.

In November we had the privilege of Judge Newhook, Matt Casey QC and Russell Bartlett presenting the national roadshow on Environment Court Practice and Advocacy – a vast and detailed topic which we tried (in vain) to get through in 2 hours.  We are already thinking about how we could use the fantastic work done in the preparation of the roadshow to put together a series of focussed sessions for the next years.  Many thanks again to the presenters.

With the closing date for submissions on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan being in the new year, we have delayed our first event for 2014 to March. Ngaio Merrick will lead an interactive session on Snakes and Ladders – skills for working with the resource management profession.  Mark your diaries for 6 March – more details in the new year.

Have a safe and relaxing holiday.

Cushla Loomb, Bay of Plenty

The BOP Branch hosted the RMA Prosecutions Roadshow after the Branch AGM on 12 September. Thanks go to HOBEC for hosting.  We had a good turnout and welcomed our new Chair (Cushla Loomb) and new Committee members (Michelle Paddison, Paula Goldsby, Richard Turner and Nick Swallow) at the AGM.  A big thank you to Brad Coombes who is stepping down as Chair but continues on the Committee. A farewell and thanks to outgoing committee members Lara Burkhardt and Buddy Mikaere.

On 30 October the Branch hosted the National Advocacy Roadshow. Thanks to Sharpe Tudhope for the great venue for the event  Attendees commented that it was a very interesting and stimulating session. We are looking forward to our joint NES Contaminated Land Open Forum and Christmas Social gathering on 10 December to be held at the stylish Cooney Lees Morgan offices.

A very merry Christmas to all members from the BoP branch.

Cam Twigley, Taranaki

The Taranaki Branch recently held its Christmas Function at Okurukuru Winery.  A good night was had by all and it was great to see some new faces in attendance.  We’ll be aiming to grow our membership next year and encourage our multi-disciplinary make up.  We have had a few changes to the committee with myself replacing Lauren Wallace as chairperson and Lauren becoming secretary.  A huge thank you to Lauren for all her hard work which culminated in the organisation of a fantastic national conference.

With the national conference now well behind us we will be focussing on bringing more of the roadshow events to the Naki complimented by a mix of our own local gatherings.  2014 promises to be another busy year on the Resource Management front.  The Freshwater Plan review will be one to watch with a number of discussion documents already prepared by the Regional Council.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Xmas and New Year

Jill Gregory, Wellington

The Wellington branch enjoyed a final social event to round out a busy 2013, at Foxtail on the waterfront.  It was good to see such a great turnout.  We look forward to another busy year with plans in place for more interesting seminars on issues that matter for Wellington practitioners.  Happy Christmas.

 Chris Thomsen, Otago/Southland

It has been sometime since my last report. 

Since last drafting a report, the seminar and workshop programme has continued.  The program included a useful update on RMA prosecutions by Jackie St John and a workshop chaired by His Honour Judge Newhook upon courtroom practice and etiquette. 

At the time of writing this report, we will shortly be celebrating the contribution of Councillor Colin Weatherall to the local Resource Management community upon his retirement from the Dunedin City Council.  This ought to be a worthy acknowledgement of a well regarded decision-maker and contributor to our industry. 

By far the most significant undertaking for the Branch currently is planning for the 2014 Conference.  A formidable array of international speakers have already been confirmed and the programme is filling fast.  Any suggestions, offers of assistance or contributions to the Conference are gratefully received, so please do not hesitate to contact any of the Committee. 

Merry Christmas. 

Jan Caunter – Queenstown/Central Otago

The Queenstown/ Central Otago Branch has been busy organising training and networking sessions and preparing the next email newsletter, which was sent out to Branch members in early November. Information in the newsletter included notice of forthcoming events, case law summaries, district plan updates and contact details for Council planning staff.

With the assistance of Queenstown law firm, Preston Russell, we hosted Nicky Wagner MP on 20 September while the Minister was in town on other business and took the opportunity to discuss RMA reforms over a few glasses of wine.

On 17 October, we held a function to welcome the senior members of Queenstown Lakes District Council’s planning team to their new roles.

We were also delighted to host Judge Newhook, Royden Somerville QC and Matt Casey QC on 14 November for the Advocacy Workshop. This workshop attracted attendees from as far away as Invercargill and was a great success. There was a large amount of information to get through and the panel were thanked for the clear and efficient delivery of the material.

Our final event for the year was the Xmas party, held in association with NZPI members on 28 November at Barmuda Bar in Queenstown.  Merry Xmas to all.