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Environmental and Local Government Law



I am a lawyer who  worked with the Resource Management Act 1991 and other local government/environmental laws and rules since 1996, and continue to work with the Natural and Built Environment Act and Spatial Planning Act 2023, which replaced the RMA.  I know councils from the inside, as I worked for them first as a council officer in Auckland and then as an in-house lawyer in Christchurch after my admission as a lawyer in 2003.  I also have twelve years' experience with a national law firm's Environmental team, acting at first for councils, before concentrating totally on helping private clients with council-related legal issues, ranging from prosecutions to resource consents, plan and appeal work.   I am equally at home in Council hearings, the District Court and Environment Court and have appeared in all levels of Court, up to the Supreme Court.  


When Conflicts or issues arise with councils or  environmental departments, like for instance:

  • Threatened or actual prosecution

  • Council enforcement investigation started against you

  • Abatement notice received

  • Served with enforcement order application notice

  • Difficulty getting resource consent or permit

  • Complex resource consent application

  • Need help for a Council hearing

  • Want to oppose a resource consent application by someone else

  • Concerned about proposed new planning rules or policies or bylaws

  • Council won't enforce its planning rules, consents or bylaws and you want to take action



High Court

  • Successful appeal of District Court convictions for riverbed disturbances

Court of Appeal

  • Successful in landmark decision on riverbed definition (acting with QC)

Environment Court:

  • Enforcement order amendment application - granted

  • Appeal of subdivision consent - successfully mediated

  • Objection and appeal of s88(3) rejection of water permit application as incomplete - settlement awaiting finalisation

Environmental Prosecutions

  • Wide experience in many cases as defence counsel for dairy effluent discharges, riverbed disturbances, gold mining, forestry and land-development sediment discharges in North and South Island

  • Ongoing representation in a number of cases currently before the Courts

Enforcement Investigations

  • Assisted many clients with council enforcement interviews, investigations, statements and non-prosecution resolution of RMA and consent breach allegations.  

  • Continue to act in ongoing investigations

Council hearings: 

  • Discharge and nutrient management consents hearing for dairy farm expansion for four dairy farms in Southland - consents granted against council officer recommendations

  • Contentious retrospective approval of drain diversions - consents granted against council officer recommendations

  • Representing farming group on water quality issues in Canterbury PC 7 hearing - decision awaited

Council Objection Hearings

  • Obtained significant cost reduction for client in s357 objection against hearing costs

Statutory Liability Insurance Claims

  • Represented and continue to represent insurers and policy holders in environmental prosecutions, enforcement investigations associated with statutory liability insurance claims

Advice, Opinions and Due Diligence

  • Advising and providing opinion to local residents' group opposing logging of Moepuku Peninsula

  • Due diligence water permit advice for farm/vineyard acquisitions

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