Good stewardship of the environment is a hallmark of good business, and high reputation. It's also true that environmental care, natural resources, resource management and regulatory compliance are some of the most challenging areas of business operation in New Zealand today.

DLA Piper New Zealand has one of the strongest resource management, planning and environment teams in the country. The firm’s hands-on expertise in environmental management extends into every sector affected: energy, mining, farming, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, water, local government, utilities, government, Treaty of Waitangi, property and land development, and manufacturing.

New Zealand’s Resource Management Act (RMA), environmental legislation and regulation, and planning considerations are key components in any development. We are expert at navigating clients through the challenging, changing arenas of conservation, climate change, natural resource protection, environment law, planning law and regulation.

We have vast experience in commercial, agricultural, aquacultural, mining, residential, industrial and retail projects. Many of the consenting and planning issues that have related to these developments have been public and contentious. DLA Piper New Zealand has a practical understanding and depth of legal knowledge of the issues our clients face. We have excellent, specialised industry and business knowledge in sectors where environmental challenges arise.

The firm is expert in managing relationships with regulators and stakeholders.

We regularly act for local government in major public works, all of which require attention to environmental and planning regulation. DLA Piper New Zealand's team is a leading adviser assisting local authorities throughout the country with resource consent and RMA issues.

Health and Safety

DLA Piper New Zealand’s employment law team is experienced in health and safety laws, compliance and defence of prosecutions.

We act for clients in diverse sectors, including hazardous industries such as forestry, infrastructure and construction on occupational health and safety issues.

We are strategic advisers at senior executive and board levels on policy development, organisational obligations and compliance.

In addition, we act rapidly as a first port of call when your organisation is the subject of a health and safety crisis.

At our disposal in advising on health and safety crises is a DLA Piper international resource – Rapid Response. This is a comprehensive, worldwide legal emergency service. It provides expertise on issues using global legal and response experts handling similar situations around the world.


  • Policy preparation
  • Defence
  • Compliance and audits
  • Stress claims
  • Training
  • Responsibility of senior officers and board
  • Crisis management
  • Relations with regulators and investigators
  • Health and Safety in Employment Act
  • Private plan changes; rezoning; public plan changes
  • Urban planning; town planning
  • District and regional plans
  • Resource consents and consent approvals;  compliance
  • Stakeholder consultations
  • Applications under the RMA, appeals, dispute resolution; designations
  • Litigation, prosecutions, enforcement
  • Consent breaches and monitoring of consents
  • Site acquisition and environmental due diligence
  • Heritage and Maori; and Treaty of Waitangi issues; iwi
  • Property development, including brownfields development
  • Utility and infrastructure development
  • Coastal and marine management
  • Water management and rights
  • Waste management
  • Energy generation, reticulation
  • Emissions, emissions trading
  • Flood control, erosion, discharges
  • Compulsory acquisitions, valuations, compensation


Marlborough District Council - NZ King Salmon Proposal
DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Council as a submitter in opposition when this matter was heard by a Board of Inquiry in 2012.  It involved 4 plan changes and the resource consents necessary for 9 salmon farm sites (eight where marine farming is prohibited).  1,271 submissions were received and involved a 10 week hearing. Only 4 of the farms were approved.

In 2013, DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Council as a party to the appeal to the High Court.  The appellants were 'Save our Sounds' and 'Environmental Defence Society'.  DLA Piper New Zealand also acted in the Supreme Court on behalf of Environmental Defence Society.

Wellington City Council - Harcourts Heritage Building
DLA Piper New Zealand is acting in the Environment Court and the High Court on appeal for an application to demolish an eight story protected heritage building.

Greater Wellington Regional Council - Peka Peka to North Otaki Roading Proposal
This New Zealand Transport Agency state highway proposal involved two notices of requirement and 49 resource consents for the construction and operation of the Peka Peka to North Otaki Expressway proposal.

It was declared a matter of national significance and is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor, identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance.  DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of Wellington Regional Council, a submitter conditionally in support of the proposal.

Greater Wellington Regional Council - Warburton v Porirua City Council and Wellington Regional Council
DLA Piper New Zealand acted on behalf of the Regional Council in successfully defending an application by Mr Warburton.  The issue was whether a 'stormwater outflow' that flowed across the foreshore was a 'river' under the Resource Management Act 1991, which would mean the consenting requirements under section 13 and the Regional Plan would apply, and set a precedent for the entire Wellington Region.  It was found the land over which the watercourse flowed was not the bed of a river, and not subject to control under s 13(1) of the RMA. The declarations were declined.  Costs were awarded to the Council.

Wiri Oil Services Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand is advising Wiri Oil Services Limited (WOSL) in relation to designating its terminal site in South Auckland to facilitate protection of the asset from incompatible land uses in the area.  The terminal is a nationally significant oil distribution asset which receives 95% of Auckland region's diesel and petrol and 100% of Auckland's aviation fuel requirements.

Insight Global Farmland Fund Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand advised Insight Global Farmland Fund Limited (IGFFL) on the purchase of a Southland 'going-concern' dairy farm business from Fermoy Farms Limited.  The transaction included the transfer of property, plant and equipment, contracts and livestock, and also involved complex water rights issues.

Dairy Farms Partnership, being the partnership between DF1 Limited and DF3, Limited (both Cayman Islands based)
DLA Piper New Zealand advised on the purchase of an Otago 'going-concern' dairy farm business.  The purchase was completed by Dairy Farms Partnership (DFP), (owned by the Harvard University Endowment Fund) after being nominated in accordance with the sale and purchase agreement by the purchaser.  Among many aspects the transaction involved consideration of various issues arising in relation to existing resource and local government permits including the water rights on the property; drafting of the lease arrangements; sale and purchase agreements for the assets and  the property; as well as an application for Overseas Investment Office consent.  We also advised DFP on the lending arrangements in relation to the funding of the purchase.

Wellington City Council - Town Belt Bill
DLA Piper New Zealand is assisting with all aspects of preparing local legislation to provide a new governance and management framework for the Wellington Town Belt.

New Zealand Veterinary Association (Inc)
DLA Piper New Zealand advised the Chief Executive of our client on a particularly difficult performance and stress-related issue. We assisted with the performance improvement process while also identifying a strategy to resolve what was becoming a dysfunctional and stressful relationship for all concerned.

Nuplex Specialities Limited
A previous employee of Nuplex alleged entitlement to long-term health insurance post-retirement at Nuplex' costs. DLA Piper New Zealand successfully defended these claims in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment court, and then the Court of Appeal, securing significant cost for the client.

Krones AG
DLA Piper New Zealand represented this German manufacturer when an employee of a project sub-contractor was fatally injured in New Zealand. This involved a Department of Labour investigation, which resulted in no prosecution of our client.

KiwiRail Limited
DLA Piper New Zealand provided advice and support following a stress claim by an employee.

Waitomo Big Red
DLA Piper New Zealand successfully defended a quad bike adventure ride operator in a health and safety prosecution relating to a fatality.