RMLA appoints new President and Executive

RMLA, the Association for Resource Management Practitioners, is pleased to announce the appointment of its new President, Treasurer and Secretary.

James Gardner-Hopkins, Barrister, Woodward Street Chambers, has been appointed as RMLA’s incoming President. Mr Gardner-Hopkins takes up office effective immediately, having been voted in by the RMLA National Committee on October 24.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins’ professional background spans some 16 years specialising in resource management, environment and planning law, and Maori legal matters. He has been counsel in a number of significant cases, including the King Salmon (Supreme Court), Ngati Kahu (Court of Appeal) and the R J Davidson (Court of Appeal – hearing pending) proceedings, as well as numerous other appeals and judicial reviews, and major projects.

He has also been involved in the RMLA in various ways for most of his professional career. As a member of the Auckland Committee, he was instrumental in launching the Young RMLA initiative. He later chaired the Wellington RMLA Committee in 2012 and, during his time on the National Committee, has held positions on the Awards, Legislation and Special Interest Groups, Membership Recruitment / Retention, QP Website, and Regional Development Portfolios. Combined, Mr Gardner-Hopkins’ professional experience and long-standing commitment to the RMLA make him well-placed to serve the broad interests of the RMLA membership.

Providing an overview of his objectives as RMLA President, James Gardner-Hopkins said: “I intend to focus my energies on the Association’s work in the legislation space, and on strategic relationships with government departments, local government, and other key organisations, as well as on the Association’s core constitution, rules and process.  We need a representative association that is agile and modern enough to last another 25 years (and longer) – even in the face of major changes to our resource and environmental management system.”

Other key appointments to the RMLA Executive include Mary Hill, Partner, Cooney Lees Morgan to the position of RMLA Secretary; and Rachel Devine, Partner, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, to the position of RMLA Treasurer.

Mary Hill is a litigator specialising in resource management, planning and local government law. Her 17-year career also spans competition, consumer, intellectual property, information and privacy law and she appears regularly in the Environment, District and High Courts.  Having spent two years on RMLA’s (Bay of Plenty) Branch Committee and one year on its National Committee, Ms Hill’s fresh views and ideas are greatly valued and will be a valuable asset to the RMLA Executive in her role as RMLA Secretary.  Being Tauranga- based, Mary is particularly interested in strengthening relationships between the National Committee and the Regional Branch Committees.

Rachel Devine has over 21 years’ experience in environment law. She provides legal advice to the private and public sectors including on major industrial and infrastructure projects and assisting government departments on implementing Ministerial agendas, such as reform of the Resource Management Act. Ms Devine’s 12-year involvement with RMLA as branch committee member, branch Chair and National Committee member affords her exceptional insight into how RMLA members can best be served. RMLA will benefit enormously from the wealth of relevant experience that Ms Devine brings to the RMLA Executive in her new role as RMLA Treasurer.

The RMLA warmly congratulates Mr Gardner-Hopkins, Ms Hill and Ms Devine on their respective appointments.

Finally, the RMLA is pleased to welcome two new RMLA National Committee members: Doug Fairgray, Director, Market Economics; and Sally Gepp, Legal Counsel, Forest and Bird.

With a new Executive and National Committee in place, the RMLA looks forward to delivering a robust 2018 events and editorial calendar, and to delivering greater benefits for its members and the resource management profession as a whole.