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2 December 20212 minute read

Public Decision Making Newsletter - Spring 2021

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 a recent Court of Appeal decision on the relevance of individuals' subjective views when making notification decisions under the RMA.  We also review two recent High Court decisions; one in respect of development contributions policies and assessments undertaken under those policies, and another concerning a costs decision where costs were awarded in favour of a local authority. We also review a recent Environment Court decision on an appeal which raised significant questions of law concerning the jurisdiction of the Environment Court and how the Court can direct the recognition of native title in freshwater in a plan.

We provide an analysis of recent decisions concerning prosecutions for environmental offending which demonstrate the ongoing view of the District Court that environmental offending justifies significant financial penalties, the need for protection for diminishing and vulnerable environments such as wetlands, the importance of continual assessment of evidence as a case proceeds to a hearing, and guidance as to the appropriate phrasing of charging documents.

Over the past few months there has been development concerning issues with the Overseer farm nutrient modelling system for which we provide a brief update. In this edition, we briefly update on Fresh Water Reform and highlight the key areas to be considered in consultation on changes to the framework for managing wetlands.  We will give an overview of the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill which Government recently introduced to accelerate intensification under the NPS-UD. Finally, we will review the recommendations of the Environment Committee as outlined in their Report on the Inquiry into the Natural and Built Environments Bill, one of three pieces of legislation intended to replace the RMA.



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