RMLA Regional News – October 2014

Auckland – Kitt Littlejohn

The Auckland branch of the RMLA has had another busy, but successful and satisfying year in 2014.  We have organised over 12 events for our Auckland members, including:

  • Environment Court Advocacy
  • RMLA Quiz Night Christmas Function
  • Snakes & Ladders – Networking for Professionals
  • Ethics & Advocacy (Young RMLA)
  • Tamaki Makaurau Collective Treaty Settlement
  • Q & A with Auckland MPs
  • Unitary Plan Processes – Update from Judge Kirkpatrick
  • Conditions of Consent (Roadshow)
  • Salmon Lecture (Dr Jan Wright)
  • Section 32 Amendments (Roadshow)
  • Advocacy Workshop (Environment Court & Young RMLA)
  • AMETI Project (Young RMLA)

Membership is good (as has been feedback on our events).  We are within budget and fiscally under control!

We are kicking off (for a second time) our local Mentoring Program for 2015 – with over half dozen mentor-mentee couplings being confirmed at the moment.

We have two more events planned before the end of the year (a presentation on built heritage issues and an update from Ree Anderson on the SHA consenting outputs).  We have another Quiz Night Christmas function also scheduled for early December.

As Chair, I would like to thank all committee members for continuing to give their time and respective firms’ resources to the RMLA cause.  In particular, I offer my sincere thanks to Francelle Lupis for doing much of the chairing for the first half of the year while I was out of town on family matters, and Karol for keeping a steady hand on the Committee as always.  Thank you also to the National Committee for your support throughout the year.

Bay of Plenty – Cushla Loomb

The Bay of Plenty local branch continues to build momentum through 2014 with a number of events held and a conference on the horizon.

The year was kicked off with an interesting insight into the workings of New Zealand’s largest Port by volume, the Port of Tauranga. Attendees were taken on a tour of the Port and had a commentary from lawyers involved in the controversial Port dredging consent application. The event was followed by drinks and nibbles at Port offices and allowed a more in-depth discussion about some of the lessons learned through the Port dredging case.

Mid-way through the year the BoP local branch switched into ‘conference organising mode’ when the 2015 conference was confirmed as being held in the Bay of Plenty (for the first time!). At that time we added new and eager members to form an organising committee (Lara Burkhardt, Sharron Wooler, Rachel Boyte, Shadrach Rolleston, Mark Apeldoorn). The exciting theme of ‘Matauranga Maori’ was chosen as it will enable an interesting and potentially controversial discussion around some key issues facing the Bay of Plenty and the rest of New Zealand – such as whether the RMA is achieving protection of Maori cultural values. Conference workshops will be accompanied by panels of experts that offer varying insights and opinions on resource management and our current legislative context.

In July, HOBEC lawyers hosted the ‘Conditions of Consent’ roadshow which discussed the issues and the recent trends around the framing and administration of consent conditions. The event was well attended with a sold out crowd of 40 people attending to hear from a distinguished panel of presenters including lawyers, planners and environment court judges. The event was followed by drinks and nibbles which provided for the all-important ‘socialising’ time.

The next event is the 2 October ‘Environmental Compensation’ workshop which we expect will be just as popular as the conditions roadshow.

The committee are also planning an end of year event that will allow a chance for members to reflect on the year, socialise over drinks and nibbles and be entertained (keep posted on details).

My thanks go to Karol Helmink for her on-going help and support of the Bay of Plenty branch and myself as Chair. Also thanks to the committee members and in particular Richard Turner and Vanessa Hamm as secretary and treasurer. We say goodbye to Russell de Luca and Bill Wasley who had to step down during the year due to work commitments.

The Bay of Plenty branch committee for 2014 is: Brad Coombs, Michelle Paddison, Vanessa Hamm (Treasurer), Nick Swallow, Rueben Hansen, Paula Golsby, Natalie Rutland, and Richard Turner (Secretary).

Waikato – Lachlan Muldowney

It has been a busy year for the Waikato branch with many of its members being involved in the Proposed Ruakura Plan Change Board of Inquiry hearing into Tainui’s proposed inland port and the Southern Links designation project to secure designation for the State Highway and arterial transport network in the south-west of Hamilton City.  It has also been a busy year on the local authority front with many of the branch’s members being involved in the numerous plan and policy making First Schedule processes including the Hamilton City Council Proposed District Plan, the Waipa Proposed District Plan, and the South Waikato Proposed District Plan.  Decisions on submissions to these plans have now been issued and the appeal periods have closed.

The Waikato branch hosted the ‘Conditions of Consent’ roadshow in July.  The interactive workshop, presented Environment Court Judges Newhook and Kirkpatrick, Commissioner Kathryn Edmonds, Dr Marie Brown, Stephen Daysh and Jennifer Caldwell, was a great success.  The high calibre panel of speakers attracted over 100 members and non-members – the largest turnout for an RMLA event in the Waikato!  Over the course of an afternoon, the diverse panel of speakers discussed recent trends around the framing and administration of consent conditions and reiterated the message that consent conditions are an integral part of any grant of consent.  I would like to thank the speakers for their efforts in travelling to Hamilton to deliver this seminar.

As Chair, I would also like to say a special thank you to Karol Helmink for her ongoing support of the Waikato branch and to my secretary Christina Gisler for all the help and support over the last 12 months.

Christmas is fast approaching and the Waikato branch is currently planning its end of year function – details of the event will follow in the coming weeks.  We also look forward to hosting a full calendar of events in 2015.

In light of the recent election result, we watch with interest to see whether the incoming government makes a push to implement the final wave of intended reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991.

Hawke’s Bay – Scott Smith

We have been dammed busy lately.  A good number of the RMA related practitioners in The Bay have, for some time now, been doused Ruataniwha water.  But as we all begin to dry out, the receding tide has revealed an inactive RMLA branch.

But thanks to Martin’s encouragement, the flow of activity is being restored.  We have a newly formed branch committee:  Michelle Nicol, Charlotte Drury, Angela McFlynn, and me.  We are looking forward to providing the current members with valuable opportunities, and reaching out to those that know little or nothing of what our organisation has to offer.

The existing local members have been invited for a gathering in mid-September, and from there we are looking forward to hosting an iteration of the widely lauded resource consent conditions roadshow on 4 November.

Taranaki – Cam Twigley

The Taranaki branch has had a busy year to date – about to host our third roadshow.

We had a slow start to the year but then hosted the Environmental Compensation and Consent Condition roadshows in quick succession which were very well attended and well received by members and non-members alike.  The quality of the presentations were top notch and all attendees gained a lot to take away with them.

We are still planning to host a joint urban design event with NZPI and NZIA but this is now likely to occur in the first quarter of 2015.

I would like to thank Karol Helmink for her continued support for our branch.  Also a big thank you to our committee members who have all been part of the committee since its inception and a big welcome to new committee member Hamish McHaffie from Todd Energy.  I’m excited to have another ‘bloke’ on the committee!  Lastly I’d like to wish Lauren Wallace and Ivan Bruce all the best on the birth of their second child.  Lauren expects to be back with us in a few months’ time.

The Taranaki branch committee for 2014 is: Cam Twigley (Chairperson), Lauren Wallace (Secretary), Lauren O’Byrne (Treasurer) and Andrea Te Puni.

Wellington – Nicky McIndoe / Maia Wikaira

The Wellington branch has had a busy year organising and hosting seminars on a diverse range of topics.

The first Wellington branch seminar of the year discussed recent and upcoming changes in natural resource management relating to the Treaty of Waitangi. We were fortunate to have the Honourable Justice Joseph Williams, Paul Beverley and Craig Linkhorn present different perspectives on this topic. We thank Vivienne Holm for arranging this seminar.

The Wellington branch has also hosted a range of national road shows, including those discussing environmental compensation, and conditions of consent. The branch also initiated and hosted an election special, attended by representatives from all of the major political parties. This was well attended and gave members an opportunity to question candidates on resource management and environmental issues.

The most popular event of the year was a seminar on the Supreme Court’s King Salmon decisions. It was great to see attendees from local and central government as well as Wellington’s legal and planning professionals at this seminar.

Throughout the year the RMLA has worked with NZPI to ensure seminars can be attended by both RMLA and NZPI members, and have jointly hosted events in some instances. We would like to thank Sarah Gardner and Phil Gurnsey for assisting with our RMLA/NZPI co-ordination.

I would like to thank Karol Helmink for her help and support of the Wellington branch. Also thanks to committee members and in particular to Lisa Bazalo and Matt Booth as Secretary and Treasurer. Thanks also to Maia Wikaira, my Co-chair, for her work during the year.

The Wellington branch committee for 2014 is: David Allen, Helen Anderson, Matt Booth (Treasurer), James Gardner-Hopkins, Phil Gurnsey, Richard Hills, Maia Wikaira (Co-chair), Lisa Bazalo (Secretary), Teall Crossen, Angela Rego, Claire Fell (Young RMLA), and Evie Rainey (Young RMLA).

Nelson – Antoinette Besier

The Nelson-Marlborough branch has had a good year with a variety of well attended and interesting seminars held on the following topics:

  • Environment Court advocacy
  • Environmental compensation
  • Resource consent conditions.

On each occasion thoughtful and challenging questions have been asked of the presenters.

The AGM was held in June.  Prior to the meeting there was a demonstration of new developments in technology (for example, camera drones) which are proving to be useful tools in resource management practice.

I would like to thank the local branch committee, particularly Shoshona Galbreath (nee Goodall) and Jane Bayley.  Shoshona has stepped down after being chairperson of the local branch for four years but remains as a member of the branch and has made a significant contribution to the local branch.  Jane Bayley continues in her role as treasurer and provides fantastic support to the running of the local branch.  Fiona McLeod is the local secretary and her input has also been greatly appreciated.

The Nelson-Marlborough branch committee for 2014 is:

  • Quentin Davies
  • Jane Bayley
  • Fiona McLeod
  • Antoinette Besier
  • Mark Lile
  • Warwick Heal
  • Rachel Reese
  • Dave Petrie
  • Gerard Praat
  • Shoshona Galbreath

In addition, I would like to thank Karol Helmink for her help and support of the local branch.

Canterbury – Gerard Cleary

So far, 2014 has certainly been a busy, dynamic and challenging year for our members in Canterbury.  There has been a significant amount of activity in the form of new planning instruments notified by local authorities, including amendments to the Regional Council’s Land And Water Plan and, in particular, the proposed replacement of the Christchurch City Plan via the fast-track process set out in the Canterbury Earthquake (Christchurch Replacement District Plan) Order 2014.  At the same time, recovery and rebuilding continues apace and it is especially pleasing to see so many fellow members returning to the beating heart of Christchurch.

The local Canterbury branch has been busy as ever organising a range of local events and hosting the various national roadshows on offer.  In March, we held an update on our very popular urban design seminar first held in 2012.  Our thanks go out to Nicole Lauenstein and Hugh Nicholson for providing us with an entertaining and informative insight into this developing field of practice from both a practitioner’s and local authority perspective.

We have also hosted a seminar on ‘What is reasonable noise’ in May 2014.  Our trio of presenters (Michael Smith and Darren Humpheson of URS and David Pedley of Adderley Head) did an excellent job in bringing us up to speed on this topic, while at the same time keeping technical jargon to a respectable minimum.

The National Roadshow on Conditions of Consent in August was particularly popular, most probably one of the only events of its kind to have sold out well in advance.  No doubt those attending benefitted enormously from the collective wisdom of two Environment Court judges and a number of other senior practitioners.

Work is continuing on the development of our young RMLA cohort.  A seminar in August on presenting expert evidence at local authority hearings was very successful, with attendees receiving important insight into good practice from Andy Carr and Paul Rogers, both very experienced independent commissioners.  Planning is also well under way for a mooting competition between junior practitioners from a number of local law firms.  No doubt the rivalry will be intense.

My thanks to this year’s Committee of:  Daniel Murray, Sarah Eveleigh, Darren Humpheson, Hans Van Der Wal, Michael Smith, Michelle Mehlhopt, Andy Carr, Hannah Marks and Philip Maw.

Otago/Southland – Chris Thomsen

The Branch Committee is: 

Chairperson:                  Chris Thomsen

Treasurer:                      Michael Garbett

Committee Members:     Phil Page, Kirsten Tebutt, Carmen Taylor, David Campbell, Rachel Brooking and Joanne Dowd

National Conference

This year has been dominated by the organising of the National Conference in Dunedin in September. 

In addition to the Branch Committee, Maree Baker-Galloway, Nicola Wheen and Ceri Warnock have all been co-opted into the National Conference Organising Committee. 

At the time of writing this the Conference is a couple of weeks away and all the logistics and organisation has gone extremely well.  All members of the Organising Committee have put in significant amounts of time and effort and as a result the Conference is looking in great shape.  We think that the Conference line up will be intriguing, stimulating and rewarding.  We are optimistic it will be well received by the delegates.  The social programme has been shaken up a little bit this year and we hope that the changes will be met with approval. 

Conference Innovators have once again done an excellent job and its support of the Committee has been invaluable. 

I specifically acknowledge my co-convenor Rachel Brooking for her work and leadership.

Other Events 

There were a number of events run by the Branch, including the National Roadshows on conditions of consent and environmental compensation.  These were supplemented by local events including a workshop giving practitioners the opportunity to discuss and hear about the King Salmon decision. 

The Committee continues to take the view that the number of members and the size of our catchment means that we have to be careful to avoid saturation by having too many events.  That being said, the events this year seem to have been compressed together in the past three or four months, but given little happened in the first half of the year they were still very well attended. 

North Otago and Southland

David Campbell is no longer in Oamaru, so there have been no functions in North Otago this year.

Southland continues to be unrepresented on the Committee and there have been no events in Southland. 

Queenstown/Central Otago – Jan Caunter

We have continued to maintain a strong membership in Queenstown and Central Otago and continue to attract a good range of professionals from throughout this area.  We are particularly pleased with the high turnout of both members and non-members at the range of workshops and seminars held each year.

Our first workshop of the year was held at Remarkables Park Limited, where RPL planners explained the considerable future development plans for that site, near Queenstown Airport.

We met with Queenstown Lakes District Council planning staff in June for an update on the District Plan review. We anticipate further sessions may follow as the format of the new District Plan starts to take shape. The new Plan is due to be notified in May 2015.

In mid-July we hosted Judges Newhook and Hassan and their panel for a workshop on consent conditions. This was followed by drinks and nibbles, the drinks being kept chilled outside the workshop venue by the frosty Queenstown afternoon!

We hosted a roadshow on environmental compensation in mid-August and now await the final roadshow for the year titled ‘Planning for Resilience’, to follow in October.

We have initiated contact with the Environment Court Registry in Christchurch to arrange some training for branch members on the Court’s use of IPads.  At this stage, we expect that workshop will occur in mid November.

We are presently planning our end of year social function, which we usually hold in tandem with the New Zealand Planning Institute members in Queenstown, and hope to hold that at Jack’s Point in early to mid December.

We continue to circulate our Branch email newsletters to members regularly, advising of recent Court decisions involving development in this part of New Zealand, along with updates on plan changes either resolved or underway. The newsletter also acts as a forum for other Branch news to be advised to Branch members and has proved to be very successful as a means of communicating with that wider audience.

My particular thanks go to committee secretary Graeme Todd and our joint treasurers, Jayne McDonald and Vanessa Robb, for their assistance this year. Thanks also to our committee members for the good work they constantly do in assisting to organise the wide range of social functions and seminars that we hold here each year.

The Queenstown/Central Otago branch committee for 2014 is: Jan Caunter (Chair), Graeme Todd (Secretary), Jayne MacDonald and Vanessa Robb (Treasurers), Carey Vivian, Marc Bretherton, Russell Ibbotson and Jenny Carter.