New Zealand is growing at a rapid rate, particularly in Auckland and our other larger urban centres where demand for housing, infrastructure and services continues to surge. In the regions, two of the country’s biggest industries – agriculture and tourism – face challenges to their use of the country's finite natural resources. To add to all of this is the threat of climate change and a growing public and corporate consciousness of the many environmental concerns we now face.
As New Zealand strives to maintain its ‘clean green’ international brand while at the same time providing for growth and development, new challenges and opportunities are presenting themselves to both domestic and international businesses. We help our clients meet these challenges and seize the opportunities by helping them to understand the changing legal, regulatory and political frameworks around urban planning, infrastructure development and environmental issues like freshwater quality and climate change.
We bring together a mix of highly experienced partners and energetic forward thinkers to assist clients manage their development, planning and environmental issues, and work within the climate policy framework. We have substantial experience acting for clients in environmental and resource management proceedings, both before the Environment Court and the superior Courts including New Zealand’s Supreme Court.
As our cities grow and intensify, the challenges facing new projects get more and more complex. Organisations undertaking major commercial, infrastructure and industrial developments therefore need a team who works restlessly to get the approvals they need.
A key focus is on helping our clients secure necessary planning approvals. Our team is highly experienced in enabling our clients to get their developments off the ground, by successfully obtaining changes to district and regional planning schemes and securing resource consents.
We also provide advice on national planning documents, on rating and development contributions and on other local government regulations such as building costs. We also draw from our dynamic litigation team, should the need to defend enforcement proceedings or prosecutions arise.
Our experience includes advising:
Freshwater is a contentious regulatory topic and we bring a detailed understanding of the practical issues facing water users. This includes the critical issue of priority to water resources through involvement in both High Court and Supreme Court proceedings, and the issues of water quality and nutrient management. We have advised a number of clients in relation to freshwater policy issues, including multiple parties involved in the Land and Water Forum.
A number of high profile clients seek our advice, including Watercare since 1999, in respect of its water and wastewater networks, and bulk water supply dams.
New Zealanders place great value on our coastlines and coastal resources. Our largest cities are located on or near major harbours and, as a trading nation, our economy is dependent on our network of seaports to ensure our exports and imports reach their markets. Our team is a long-standing leader in coastal development, including coastal infrastructure, regeneration projects, aquaculture, marinas and residential developments.
New Zealand has the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) 2012 has recently established a new framework governing the management of the natural resources located over this vast area. The new regime presents significant opportunities, but also significant challenges, for both businesses already established in the EEZ and newcomers wanting to obtain new approvals.
We provided advice to a range of clients during the Government's development of the EEZ legislation and were successful in obtaining a number of key amendments during the legislative process. Since the legislation came into force we have continued to advise clients on its application, including in relation to several significant marine mining proposals that have sought consent.
The Climate Change Response Act (2002) sets out provisions for the introduction of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS). Companies in emitting industries need to be aware of their obligations under the scheme. We develop submissions to Government on the NZ ETS, assist clients in engaging with officials during the legislative process and advise on the legislation's implications. Our specialist team provides insightful, clear advice on this developing area of law.
We have also worked with clients in relation to Commerce Commission scrutiny in the climate change area, specifically in relation to carbon reduction or neutrality claims, and 'greenwashing' advertising representations. Businesses making, or planning to make, environmental claims, benefit from our deep knowledge of the legislation and experience in dealings with the Commerce Commission. Find out more about our Climate Change expertise here.
Our experience includes:
Partner, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources
Senior Associate, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources
Infrastructure and Projects
Public Works Act
Energy and Renewables
Transportation, Shipping and Logistics
Public Law and Regulation