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22 September 20202 minute read

Public Decision Making Newsletter - Spring 2020

This newsletter summarises recent developments in law relating to resource management and local government in New Zealand that may be of interest to local authorities and decision makers. 

In this edition, we review recent decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal in respect of a resource consent decision where the characterisation of land as ‘urbanisation’, rather than ‘countryside living’, by the local authority was considered by the courts. We also provide an analysis of recent decisions concerning prosecutions for environmental offending, including a decision of the District Court which addresses the formulation of charging documents when arguing vicarious liability, and a recent sentencing appeal decision of the High Court which provides guidance on the courts’ considerations when sentencing offenders. 

Over the past few months there has been considerable development in legislation concerning the environment and decision-making by local authorities, including amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and the enactment of COVID-19 recovery fast-track consenting legislation, which we summarised in the last edition of this newsletter. In this edition, we consider further developments, including the release of a comprehensive report on resource management law reform that has proposed the repealing and replacement of the RMA, the enactment of amendments to residential tenancies legislation which include new healthy home standards, and new national directions on urban development and the outdoor storage of tyres.