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Knowledge

Can a regional council prohibit fishing in a specific area?

Thursday 12 December, 2019

In Attorney-General v Trustees of the Motiti Rohe Moana Trust [2019] NZCA 532, the Court of Appeal considered whether the Bay of Plenty Regional Council could ban fishing in areas of outstanding natural character in order to maintain indigenous biodiversity of fish species when the Fisheries Act 1996 (“FA”) separately regulates the taking of the pa...

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Can an easement be granted over an esplanade reserve for a commercial activity?

Thursday 12 December, 2019

In Douglas Craig Schmuck v Opua Coastal Preservation Society Incorporated [2019] NZSC 118 the Supreme Court considered whether the easements granted to the appellant, Schmuck, over an esplanade reserve were valid, as well as the role of a local authority acting as the Minister’s Delegate.
Schmuck operates a boatyard business in Opua and, as part o...

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When will the Environment Court recall a judgment?

Thursday 12 December, 2019

In Granger v Dunedin City Council [2019] NZEnvC 143, the Court considered whether it could recall its judgment which allowed an appeal against Council’s decision to grant a subdivision consent to Peninsula Holdings Trust (“PHT”).

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Modifying land covenants

Thursday 12 December, 2019

In our June 2019 edition of the legal brief we provided commentary on the then recently issued Court of Appeal decision relating to the modification of existing land covenants on the site of Synlait Milk’s Pokeno Factory. The Court of Appeal decision reinstated the land covenants which had the consequence that Synlait Milk’s factory had been built ...

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Who can bring an appeal under the RMA?

Thursday 12 December, 2019

In Strategic Property Advocacy Network v Auckland Council [2019] NZEnvC 134, the Court considered the definition of “person” in the RMA in order to decide whether the Strategic Property Advocacy Network (“SPAN”) was able to bring an appeal against Auckland Council’s Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (“PAUP”).

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Stage 1 of Resource Management Act reforms

Thursday 12 December, 2019

The Resource Management Amendment Bill 2019 (“the Bill”) was introduced into the House on 23 September 2019 and has been referred to the Environment Select Committee, with a report due back on 26 March 2020.

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Local Government Amendment Bill (No 2) passed

Thursday 12 December, 2019

The Local Government Amendment Bill (No 2) received Royal Assent on 21 October 2019 and has come into force. The amendment removes the threat of forced amalgamation for local authorities. Reorganisation requests can now only be made by members of the public if they are a group comprising at least 10% of the voters in the area.

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Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill passed

Thursday 12 December, 2019

Parliament passed the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill on 7 November. It received Royal assent on 13 November 2019 and has now come into force. The purpose of the amendment is to provide a framework for New Zealand to develop and implement climate change policies to help limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C and...

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Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity released on 26 November 2019

Thursday 12 December, 2019

The Draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (“proposed NPS-IB”) was released for consultation with the purpose to maintain indigenous biodiversity. Under the RMA, management of indigenous biodiversity by councils has resulted in uncertainty and debate by councils and communities, and litigation that is costly and time consuming ...

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Will climate-related financial disclosures be compulsory for NZ businesses?

Monday 2 December, 2019

MBIE has released a discussion document for consultation on whether NZ businesses should be subject to mandatory reporting of climate-related information and seeking information on the cost to businesses of introducing mandatory reporting.

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Removal of trustees under the Trusts Act 2019

Thursday 28 November, 2019

More and more New Zealand trusts are facing problems due to trustees losing mental capacity from dementia or other age-related issues. At the moment, if a trustee loses capacity, they cannot retire as a trustee. They have to be removed by the person who has the power to appoint and remove trustees of the trust.

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Minimum wage obligations and how to meet them

Tuesday 26 November, 2019

Did you know that employers are obliged to pay salaried employees at least the minimum wage for every hour that they work? Many employers think that they can average hours worked to comply with minimum wage legislation, but the courts have expressly stated that this is unacceptable.

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Trusts Act 2019: Beneficiaries' rights to information

Thursday 21 November, 2019

The new Trusts Act clarifies and codifies beneficiaries’ rights to certain trust information to help beneficiaries make sure that the trustees are complying with their duties and the terms of the trust.

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Lime Scooters - a new option

Thursday 31 October, 2019

The recent introduction of Lime Scooters to New Zealand’s major cities has presented people with the option to glide quickly and effortlessly across the CBD on an electric scooter. People on a Lime Scooter do not waste precious minutes searching for a carpark or spend money on parking.

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Trusts Act 2019: Trustees' duties

Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Last week we explored the purpose of the new Trust Act 2019 and some of the administrative changes that are being made to trusts in New Zealand. This week, we are looking at one of the most important aspects of the new Act: the changes to trustees’ duties.

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Trusts Act 2019

Monday 14 October, 2019

Trustees, settlors and beneficiaries should all be aware that there is a new Trusts Act 2019, which comes into force on 30 January 2021. The new Act makes some significant changes to current trust law, and everyone who is involved with a Trust needs to know the new legislation.

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How can you identify the subject of an anonymous defamatory statement?

Thursday 10 October, 2019

A recent Privy Council decision considered whether a defamatory statement that did not identify anyone can be read together with a later statement that identified a person but was not defamatory. The Court decided that, in certain circumstances, you can join the two statements together as grounds for an action in defamation.

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Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill

Thursday 3 October, 2019

Submissions on the Climate Change Bill have now closed, with the Select Committee report due on 21 October 2019. This Bill will amend the Climate Change Response Act 2002. The purpose of the Bill is to provide a framework for New Zealand to develop and implement climate change policies to comply with the Paris Agreement to limit the global average ...

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Consultation is not a "referendum"

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The High Court has confirmed that the Local Government Act 2002 (”LGA”) does not give a participant in a particular process the right to have input into a Council’s consultation material, nor does it oblige a Council to accept the preference of the majority of submitters in respect of a LGA process.

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Resource Management Act Review

Thursday 3 October, 2019

On 24 July 2019, David Parker, Minister for the Environment announced that the Government is establishing an expert advisory group to undertake a wide review of the RMA, including how it interrelates with transport, climate change and local government laws. The group will provide an ‘options and issues’ paper seeking feedback by the end of October ...

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Productivity Commission Draft Report

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The Productivity Commission released its draft report on Local Government funding and financing on 4 July. The Commission assessed current and prospective funding tools through the lens of five principles: Appropriate for local government use, coherent, efficient, equitable and fair, and sustainable.

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Withdrawing Charges under the RMA

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The District Court recently refused to grant Canterbury Regional Council (“Regional Council”) leave to withdraw charges under the RMA against a defendant. In the case in question, the Regional Council alleged that Bathurst Coal had discharged sediment-laden water onto land which resulted in contaminants entering the Bush Gully Stream.

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Draft National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2019 for consultation

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries have released a draft proposed National Policy Statement ("NPS") for Freshwater Management for consultation. Submissions close on 17 October 2019.

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Draft National Policy Statement for Urban Development

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development are currently consulting on a proposed National Policy Statement ("NPS-UDC") on Urban Development. Submissions close 10 October 2019.

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Draft National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries are currently seeking consultation on a proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (“NPS-HPL”).
Submissions on the proposed NPS on Highly Productive Land close on 10 October 2019.

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Businesses can't remove bad reviews

Thursday 1 August, 2019

The Commerce Commission has filed charges under the Fair Trading Act against holiday rental management and booking company Bachcare. The Commission alleges that Bachcare did not publish reviews if consumers had given fewer than 3.5 out of 5 stars and removed negative comments from some reviews before putting them on its website. The Commission beli...

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Australian defamation decision raises risk for public Facebook pages

Wednesday 31 July, 2019

A recent Australian judgment has found several media companies liable for defamation after members of the public posted defamatory comments on the companies’ public Facebook pages. The Court thought that it was significant that the media companies had the ability to delay publication of comments until after they had reviewed them.

In this articl...

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Is this the end of equal sharing?

Tuesday 30 July, 2019

The Law Commission released a report on relationship property rules on 23 July 2019. The most significant recommendation suggests ending the equal division of the family home when the home was owned by one partner before the relationship or was received by one partner as a gift or inheritance during the relationship.

The Law Commission also rec...

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Resource Management Act Review

Tuesday 30 July, 2019

The Minister for the Environment has announced the establishment of an expert advisory group to undertake a wide review of the RMA, including how it interrelates with transport, climate change and local government laws. The group will provide an ‘options and issues’ paper seeking feedback by the end of October 2019, and a final report by the end of...

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Why have a dress code?

Tuesday 9 July, 2019

Wardrobe choices can affect how customers or clients perceive you or your employees. Clothing choice can also improve performance at work and increase respect from others. How employees present is part of a company’s brand and businesses should consider whether their dress code policy is consistent with the brand they want to portray.

There are...

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What timely legal advice could have avoided

Thursday 20 June, 2019

The benefit of timely (and early) legal advice on council notification decisions in contentious resource consent applications has been highlighted in the recent High Court decision in Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc v Northland Regional Council & Resin and Wax Ltd [2019] NZHC 449 [15 March 2019] (Resin & Wax Decision).

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Local authority requiring monetary contributions on designations

Thursday 20 June, 2019

The Environment Court in Tauranga City Council v Minister of Education [2019] NZEnvC 32 has confirmed that a local authority has the power to recommend, and that the Environment Court has the power to impose, conditions requiring monetary contributions on designations in circumstances where the requiring authority has not offered such conditions on...

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Consultation obligations for Outsourcing contracts

Thursday 20 June, 2019

We have been involved in several recent instances in which a local authority planned to outsource its water and/or wastewater operations. Local authorities are prohibited from selling their relevant assets unless it is to another local authority or CCO, so these arrangements typically take the form of long term operations contracts.

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Quarry covenants affecting Synlait's new Pokeno dairy factory

Thursday 20 June, 2019

The Court of Appeal has recently delivered a decision on land covenants restricting land use, which affects the land Synlait has constructed its new $250 million Pokeno dairy plant on. The Court of Appeal has ruled that the land covenants be reinstated, meaning the plant has been constructed in breach of covenants restricting the use of the land in...

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Availability Provisions Clarified

Thursday 20 June, 2019

A recent decision of the Employment Court has clarified the reach of availability provisions. This decision has an impact for all employers who require their employees to be available to work overtime. The case of Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa Inc v New Zealand Post Limited [2019] NZEmpC 47, considered the question of whether a clause in the e...

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Employment Law Changes

Friday 31 May, 2019

The introduction of the Labour government has seen a recent shake up to employment legislation. Many of the changes are a restoration of standards and protections for employees as well as being intended to promote and strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.

The changes came in two waves, with the second set of chang...

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Court sends warning on poorly drafted consent conditions

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

The Environment Court recently issued strong warnings that poorly framed conditions could impact the Court’s decision-making. Those warnings went unanswered by the Applicant which resulted in the release of an interim decision only.

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Court of Appeal guidance on obligation to pay rates

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

The Rogans were unhappy about having to pay substantially increased rates because of a major cost overruns in the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Kaipara District. At the time, they refused to pay rates. Later, they offered to pay the outstanding rates but not penalties. They said that the rates assessments and invoices did not c...

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High Court strikes out a judicial review for trade competition

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

Sheffield Properties Ltd (“Sheffield”), with interests within the Paraparaumu Town Centre, sought judicial review of the decision by Kapiti Coast District Council (“the Council”) to approve Private Plan Change 84 - Airport Zone (“PC84”).

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Council's statutory demand upheld

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

The High Court has declined to set aside a council’s statutory demand for a $415,493.45 debt for development contribution levy. The case is reassuring for local authorities.

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Government establishes new Infrastructure Commission

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

The Minister for Infrastructure, Shane Jones, has announced the establishment of a new independent infrastructure body, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, ‘Te Waihanga’.

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Bella Vista: MBIE Report highlights failure to perform statutory functions

Tuesday 9 April, 2019

MBIE has released a report of its review of Tauranga City Council’s (“Council”) performance of its functions under the Building Act 2004 with respect to the Bella Vista development. It concludes that there were a number of reasons for the Council’s failure to perform its regulatory functions.

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Privacy Bill: Select Committee Report

Thursday 4 April, 2019

Almost a year after the Privacy Bill was first introduced, the Select Committee has provided its much awaited report. The Select Committee has made some significant changes to the Bill, including additional changes to the Privacy Principles and clarifications around the transfer of personal information offshore.

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Can a trustee use trust funds for litigation costs?

Friday 22 March, 2019

Trustees are generally entitled to reimbursement for costs properly incurred in the administration of a trust. There are however limitations to that principle, particularly in respect of litigation costs. This issue was addressed in the recent Court of Appeal decision of Pratley v Courtney (2018) CA40/2018 NZCA 436, which concerned an appeal agains...

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Case highlights risk of assuming a director has authority to contract

Friday 22 March, 2019

It is common practice for a director to sign documents on behalf of the company. A recent case serves as a reminder that it cannot be assumed, unless the company only has one director, that a contract signed by a single director is enforceable against the company.

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A glimpse into the Personal Property Securities Register

Friday 22 March, 2019

The use of credit is an essential part of commercial transactions and is made easier by, and usually dependent on, the debtor’s ability to provide security for the credit. Security interests over personal property (for example, plant and equipment, trucks, trailers and tractors, stock in trade, accounts receivable and the like) are granted on a dai...

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Land Transfer Act 2017

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

The Land Transfer Act 2017 came into force on 12 November 2018. It is a significant rewrite of important Property Law legislation – but what impact does it have on local authorities? There is a lot of new terminology. The Act introduces the concept of a Record of Title which replaces what was previously referred to as a Certificate of Title or, s...

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Recent decision on "affected persons" highlights the importance of context

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

In Ennor v Auckland Council [2018] NZHC 2598, Whata J adopted the threshold test for an “affected person” under s 95E of the Resource Management Act 1991 (“RMA”) and addressed the importance of context in notification decisions. The Court considered an application for judicial review of the Council’s decision to grant a neighbours’ resource consen...

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The Government's Three Waters Review

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

The ripple effects of the Havelock North water crisis continue to make themselves felt. The government’s three waters review has resulted in a November 2018 cabinet paper that lays out the regulatory pathway that the government will pursue. Over the 2019 year this comprises detailed policy proposals for...

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Chief Ombudsman upholds Auckland Council's restrictions on stadium reports

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

Two Auckland councillors complained to the Ombudsman about lack of access to two “pre-feasibility” reports on the proposed national stadium in Auckland. Councillors were provided unredacted copies on the basis that the reports were not copied, that they were kept in a secure location, and that they were returned to the mayor’s office once the coun...

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Email quarantine: getting it right

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

Councils, like other employers, have obligations to protect their employees from harm. Quarantining abusive or offensive emails is one method of doing so. However, Councils must tread carefully.

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Deemed Directors and nervous employees

Friday 12 October, 2018

The law requires the business and affairs of a company to be managed by, or under the direction or supervision of, the board of directors (“Board”). The Board can delegate some of those management powers to employees, but where employees exercise management powers (whether properly delegated or not) there is a risk that they may be personally expo...

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Are you dating or in a de facto relationship?

Tuesday 2 October, 2018

One issue that commonly arises is whether a couple are in a de facto relationship. The reason why this is so important, is that the equal sharing rules of relationship property law apply to de facto relationships of 3 years or more. It also applies to de facto relationships under 3 years, where there is a child and other factors are met.

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Court of Appeal Decision in R J Davidson Family Trust

Thursday 27 September, 2018

The much-anticipated Court of Appeal decision on an appeal from the High Court on the question of whether a consent authority can, or should, have recourse to Part 2 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (“RMA”), when considering resource consent applications under section 104 of the RMA.

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High Court finds Council liable in negligence for damage from fallen tree

Thursday 27 September, 2018

The High Court has held that the Queenstown Lakes District Council (“Council”) breached its duty of care to Plaza Investments Ltd (“Plaza”) by failing to prevent a rotting 30-metre-tall Lombardy poplar tree in a Council-owned park from falling onto Plaza’s motel. Council was found liable for the amount required to repair Plaza’s property.

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Court confirms penalty bands under the Health and Safety at Work Act

Thursday 27 September, 2018

When the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) came into force in 2016, the penalties for offences were increased six-fold. We have been waiting for some time for guidance from the High Court as to the sentencing approach and culpability bands under the new legislation to understand just how much bigger the penalties imposed on Persons Conducting a...

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Court of Appeal recognises new public interest defence to defamation claims

Thursday 27 September, 2018

In our ‘Defamation Update’ on 15 September 2017, we discussed the High Court decision in Durie v Gardiner [2017] NZHC 377, [2017] 3 NZLR 72 which recognised that a new defence for “responsible communication on matters of public interest” could apply in New Zealand.

The Court of Appeal has now issued its decision (Durie v Gardiner [2018] NZCA 2...

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Environment Court's Annual Review 2017

Thursday 27 September, 2018

The Environment Court has just released its fourth Annual Review, covering the Court's activities in the 2017 calendar year. This article provides a snapshot of the Annual Review.

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The role of Councils in the 'foreign buyer ban'

Thursday 27 September, 2018

Councils should ensure that a property’s “property category” is included in the searchable property information available on their websites.

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Court upholds sensible approach to local authority works on private property

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

Local authorities have a power to construct works on private property under s 181 of the Local Government Act 2002 with the consent of the owner or after following the process in Schedule 12. The High Court recently ruled that local authorities must only give notice and follow the process under s 181 and Schedule 12 once; the process need not re-s...

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New process for calculating court-awarded interest

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

A new process for calculating Court-awarded interest on debt and compensation claims came into force on 1 January 2018 that more fairly compensates creditors and has potential application to Public Works Act acquisitions.

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New RMA Compliance Oversight Unit and best practice guidelines

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

A new unit is to be established to oversee compliance with the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘RMA’).

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Should Councillors see Council reports?

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

The answer will almost always be “yes”, but Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has had reservations. The report in question cost Auckland Council almost $1 million and relates to the proposed national stadium, which could cost $1.5 billion.

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Supreme Court upholds councils' power to fluoridate water

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

On 27 June 2018 the Supreme Court issued a judgment which is of significance to councils across the country.
In 2012 South Taranaki District Council decided to fluoridate the drinking water supply for Patea and Waverley. Both towns had high levels of dental decay. Anti-fluoride group New Health New Zealand Inc brought unsuccessful claims in the H...

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Bella Vista learnings

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

The Hon Paul Heath QC’s review of Tauranga City Council’s (TCC) assessments, decisions and monitoring of the land use, subdivision and building consents for 21 properties in the Bella Vista subdivision is essential reading for any council officer working with the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and the Building Act 2004 (BA).

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New Local Government Bills

Thursday 3 May, 2018

The Local Government (Community Wellbeings) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading and has been referred to select committee.

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Environment report highlights serious land issues

Thursday 3 May, 2018

A new comprehensive report on the state of land in New Zealand has been published by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ. Our Land 2018 is the first land specific report produced under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015.

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New guidance on publicly available official information

Thursday 3 May, 2018

The Ombudsman has recently released a useful guide relating to the power not to provide official information that is or soon will be publicly available.

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High Court guidance on HASHAA

Thursday 3 May, 2018

A very recent High Court decision on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 (HASHAA) provides valuable guidance to councils with established special housing areas (SHAs) or in the midst of discussions with the Minister to establish SHAs.

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Bright-line test extended to 5 years

Wednesday 4 April, 2018

As signalled by the Government during the 2017 election and again in February 2018, the bright-line test for tax on the disposal of residential land has now been extended to 5 years.

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Caselaw Update

Friday 9 March, 2018

Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust v Invercargill City Council [2017] NZSC 190

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Must Councils accept an assertion that a person is ‘suitably qualified'?

Friday 9 March, 2018

The issue was considered in the recent Environment Court case David Mulholland Consulting Engineer Ltd v Whanganui District Council [2018] NZEnvC 10.

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Briefing to the Incoming Minister for the Environment

Friday 9 March, 2018

MfE prepared two BIMs, one on the environment portfolio generally and one specifically relevant to water issues.

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Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Local Government

Friday 9 March, 2018

The Department of Internal Affairs prepared a single BIM for the new Minister for Local Government ...

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Proposed Employment Law Changes

Friday 9 March, 2018

The Labour-led Government has recently announced the first round of the employment law reforms that it promised pre-election. Although changes were expected, the exact nature and extent of those changes had previously been unknown.

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Alert: Ombudsman's warning to Local Government

Friday 9 March, 2018

Ombudsman Peter Boshier has recently hit out at local government, saying that councils are not meeting their LGOIMA obligations and seem to resent being held accountable.

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Employment law reforms announced

Friday 5 January, 2018

The Labour-led coalition Government has recently announced the first round of the employment law reforms that it promised pre-election. Although change was expected, the exact nature and extent of those changes had previously been unknown.

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Trusts, Gifting and the Rest Home Subsidy

Thursday 23 November, 2017

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) administers the Social Security Act 1964. The Act includes a residential care subsidy regime which concerns the cost of rest home care (commonly called the rest home subsidy).

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Forest and Bird decision

Thursday 23 November, 2017

The recent Supreme Court decision in Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Co Ltd v Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc [2017] NZSC 106 is a timely reminder for local authorities and other parties exercising statutory decision making powers to be fully aware of all relevant factors when exercising such powers.

In addition, the d...

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Slippery slopes: local authority liability for landslips

Thursday 23 November, 2017

Councils owe various different potential duties in relation to damage caused by landslips. In this Legal brief, we comment on a recent case where a Council was held liable for damage caused by a landslip. While the slip itself was triggered by natural causes, the underlying instability was the result of earthworks carried out by the Council more ...

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Responding to a workplace accident

Thursday 23 November, 2017

It is important to have a plan in place outlining how you will respond to a workplace accident in order to balance the need to satisfy your responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (‘the Act’) and the need to protect your interests in the event of a prosecution.

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New Statutory requirements for consent conditions

Thursday 23 November, 2017

Section 108AA of the Resource Management Act 1991 (“the RMA”) was inserted as part of the recent resource legislation amendments and came into effect on 18 October 2017. The new section introduces restrictions which limit the scope of conditions that may be imposed on a resource consent, in addition to the requirements of sections 108 and 220.

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Actual and reasonable costs principles

Thursday 23 November, 2017

Local authorities when levying additional charges pursuant to Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) must ensure that those charges reflect the actual and reasonable costs in relation to the activity. We review a recent High Court decision – Porirua City Council v Ellis [2017] NZHC 784 – where the Court upheld an Environment Court dec...

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Minister to reverse new non-notification law

Thursday 23 November, 2017

Environment Minister David Parker has indicated that the Government will attempt to reform the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) which was amended in April this year through the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA).

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Defamation update

Friday 15 September, 2017

Local body authorities and politicians need to be particularly mindful of defamation law. In our defamation update we outline recent developments in defamation law and set out ways that local bodies can manage their defamation risk.

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Local Authorities owe a duty of care to their neighbours - High Court decision

Friday 15 September, 2017

Local authorities owe the same duty of care to their neighbours as any other owners or occupiers of land. We review a recent High Court decision - Double J Smallwoods Ltd v Gisborne District Council [2017] NZHC 1284 - which held a local authority negligent for fire damage to a neighbouring sawmill operation, as a result of its failure to reduce the...

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Local Authorities' decision-making requirements - Court of Appeal decision

Friday 15 September, 2017

In the recent Court of Appeal decision of Wellington City Council v Minotaur Custodians Limited [2017] NZCA 302 (Brown, Simon France and Williams JJ), the Court overturned the decision of the High Court, holding that Part 6 of the Local Government Act 2002 gives local authorities a broad discretion as to how to meet their statutory decision-making ...

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Tendering pitfalls: the importance of "no process contract" clauses

Friday 15 September, 2017

In The Rintoul Group Limited v Far North District Council [2017] NZHC 1132, the Council was found to have breached a tender “process contract” and potentially liable for significant damages to an unsuccessful tenderer. We comment on the case and explain how the outcome could have been avoided.

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New Bill extends enforcement powers under the LGA

Friday 15 September, 2017

A Member’s Bill from The Honourable Jonathan Young (National MP), the Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill, was recently introduced to Parliament. The Bill proposes to widen the scope of enforcement officer powers to remove property (such as structures and tents) from council land – a power which will no doubt be welcomed by councils...

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LGOIMA Update - Ombudsman's dedicated webpage for councils

Friday 15 September, 2017

The Office of the Ombudsman is taking proactive steps to provide advice and guidance to agencies (including local authorities). In earlier Legal Briefs we have referred you to the guide, ‘The LGOIMA for local government agencies’ and summarised the Ombudsman’s new approach to ‘delay complaints’. In this edition, we summarise a recent addition to th...

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Health and Safety - Duty to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate

Friday 15 September, 2017

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 imposes a new duty on local authorities, as “persons conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBUs), to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities, so far as is reasonably practicable, with all other PCBUs who share health and safety responsibilities in relation to particular work.

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Bribery of a public official

Thursday 13 July, 2017

The high profile prosecution of a former public official and a private roading contractor in R v Borlase and Noone [2016] NZHC 2970 raises interesting issues as to what constitutes acceptable gifts, entertainment and hospitality when engaging with the public sector in the context of New Zealand’s bribery and corruption laws.

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The Ombudsman's new approach to 'delay' complaints

Thursday 13 July, 2017

The Office of the Ombudsman has just announced that, from 1 July 2017, it will be taking a new approach to how it responds to complaints about delays in making and communicating decisions on requests for official information within the maximum statutory timeframe (i.e. 20 working days).

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Requiring authority status for irrigation scheme operators

Thursday 13 July, 2017

Ministerial approval of private entities as requiring authorities under section 167 of the RMA is, after the initial rush following commencement of the Act in October 1991, comparatively infrequent these days. There was no corresponding Ministerial power in the former Town and Country Planning Act, so the emergence of private entities able to desi...

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Update on RJ Davidson Family Trust

Thursday 13 July, 2017

In our last Legal Brief we discussed the implications of the High Court’s decision in RJ Davidson Family Trust v Marlborough District Council [2016] NZEnvC 81 to resource consent applications. The High Court held that the King Salmon principles regarding the application of Part 2 of the RMA to the preparation of plans, also apply to resource consen...

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Clarity for supermarkets or not?

Thursday 13 July, 2017

The Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority has recently provided clarity on a supermarkets ability to display and promote alcohol within single alcohol areas. ARLA’s decision has been appealed to the High Court.

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Relief for grocery stores

Thursday 13 July, 2017

The Government are making changes to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act to enable grocery stores to continue to sell alcohol.

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Duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Thursday 13 July, 2017

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 imposes different health and safety duties on different people, depending on their role in the workplace. Local authorities need to be aware of these duties and adopt a cautious approach in reducing the risk of a workplace accident.

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Increased Compensation available under the Public Works Act

Monday 12 June, 2017

With the Government’s recent budget announcement of $32.5 billion infrastructure spending over the next four years, it is anticipated that the use of compulsory acquisition powers under Public Works Act 1981 (“PWA”) may be necessary to ensure that such projects can be completed. Recent changes to the PWA have been introduced with the intention to ...

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King Salmon applies to resource consents

Wednesday 17 May, 2017

Following the Supreme Court’s finding in EDS v NZ King Salmon [2014] NZSC 38, that there is generally no need (or ability) to refer back to the purpose and principles in Part 2 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (which was in the context of a plan change), there was some uncertainty as toits application in respect of resource consent applications ...

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High Court determines property arrangement is not a "subdivision"

Wednesday 17 May, 2017

Clearspan Property Assets Ltd v Spark New Zealand Trading Ltd [2017] NZHC 277 is a recent decision of the High Court which deals with the nexus between the law of property rights and the law regulating the use of land. The High Court overturned the unanimous decision of two Judges of the Environment Court in Spark New Zealand Trading Ltd [2016] NZ...

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Case review: Invercargill City Council v Southland

Wednesday 17 May, 2017

This case looks at the obligations a Council may have when issuing Code Compliance Certificates, particularly in relation to the extent of any duty of care that may be owed to property owners.

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Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Wednesday 17 May, 2017

New Zealand’s poor health and safety record in the workplace has led to significant reforms in the law and the organisations governing this area.

In June 2012, the Minister of Labour established the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety to research and critically evaluate New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system and to rec...

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Your Periodic Discovery Reminder

Wednesday 17 May, 2017

This periodic reminder comments on two particular issues that can pose challenges to organisations dealing with litigation: the duty to preserve documents, and the application of privilege to reports prepared internally or externally in the course of seeking legal advice or preparing for apprehended or actual proceedings.

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Key changes to limitations for civil claims

Monday 13 March, 2017

Limitation regimes are designed to protect defendants from stale claims. Claims that are brought many years after the relevant events are problematic for defendants (and their insurers), who may no longer have access to the evidence and witnesses they need to adequately defend themselves.

From 1 January 2011 the Limitation Act 2010 replaced the ...

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Plan Change 1 to the Waikato Regional Plan – “Healthy Rivers” Update

Submissions on proposed Plan Change 1 close on 8 March 2017 at 5pm. The submission process provides opportunity for those affected by PPC1 to have their say about its provisions. It gives a submitter the right to participate in the hearing process and influence outcomes. If you would like any assistance to complete your submission or wish to dis...

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Farming Directorships - A due diligence guide

This guide was developed between the Institute of Directors, its Waikato Branch and DairyNZ, with input from Tompkins Wake and BDO

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Conscious Uncoupling - an alternative approach to separation

When actress Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin announced they were splitting after ten years of marriage, they did not use the word “divorce”, but “conscious uncoupling”.
New Zealand's family justice system aims for civilised separations to be the rule, particularly where children are involved.

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