From your President

He mihi nui ki a koutou,

Kua tae mai te mutunga tau.  The end of the year is upon us.  And what a year it has been.

As I write this from my home office, I am reminded of one of the more enjoyable aspects of my lockdown experience, which was the ability to work flexibly from home and be more available for my family. This year has been one of adjustment and adaptation in many aspects of our lives, and RMLA has managed this admirably.  We were quick off the mark to respond to our members’ requests for on-line collaboration and information sharing.

Our roadshow crew rolled out several very well attended webinars in quick succession. Our session on Hearings in a Virtual World lead to a small commission by MfE to prepare a new section for the Making Good Decisions course on virtual hearings.  Two of our presenters, Phil Mitchell and Martin Williams, assisted with this work.

Other highlights (with a common theme) were our first AGM conducted by Zoom, and our Salmon Lecture in Auckland and “mini conference” in Wellington, which were livestreamed to supplement our “in person” audiences. Those two sessions encouraged a lively and well informed debate between our presenters (Rt Hon Simon Upton, and Hon Tony Randerson QC) about the resource management system reform which is now in the hands of an ambitious Government.

Members have also enjoyed experimenting with our new Discourse app, enabling these conversations to continue on-line. We have also developed a Sustainability Policy, with measurable targets to ensure that our events and activities are managed in a sustainable way.

In October the National Committee farewelled two of our valued members, Sheena Tepania and Kim Hardy, and welcomed Rob Enright aboard.  We continue to be assisted with great patience and energy by the unflappable Karol Helmink.

I’m excited about what 2021 has instore for RMLA.  Engagement on the system reform will provide opportunities for our members, as we seek to provide a practitioner perspective to shape the new legislation.

We have engaged an external communications consultant and are in the process of developing an engagement plan to ensure we are well placed to respond to requests to be involved. We are working closely with MFE on this strategy.

We intend to kick the year off with the Environment Court “Plan Writing 102” roadshow, likely to be the first week of March. We are also planning a roadshow focussed on implementation issues undermining effective resource management under the RMA, a subject dear to many of our hearts.

Wishing you all a safe and fun filled holiday.

Ngā manaakitanga