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New Zealand’s Specialist
Project Lawyers

There is a marked difference

in the way Greenwood Roche operates. From the outset we have focused on clearly defined specialist areas, retaining highly respected legal experts in each field. We then take that further; ensuring clients have direct and regular access to the most senior partners and lawyers, in a cost efficient manner.

Close contact with experts and clear cost advantages

We advise on a range of significant public and private sector projects. To ensure our specialists are always where they’re needed, we operate as one office with hubs in Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch.

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Recent Projects

Projects

Purchase of Alinta Energy

Brigid McArthur, Monique Thomas and Sam Green acted earlier this year, alongside...

Purchase of Alinta Energy

Recent Projects

Purchase of Alinta Energy

Purchase of Alinta Energy

Brigid McArthur, Monique Thomas and Sam Green acted earlier this year, alongside an Allen & Overy team, on New Zealand aspects of the purchase by Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises of Australia’s largest electricity and gas utility, Alinta Energy.


The sale follows an about-face on Alinta’s delayed public float, which itself followed an earlier inconclusive sale process.  The deal remains subject to foreign investment approval in Australia.

In New Zealand, the Alinta assets include the Glenbrook Steel Mill cogeneration plant.

Chow Tai Fook is a privately-owned holding company with existing investments across 50 countries, straddling hotels, retail, property and jewellery businesses.

- Photo courtesy of Alinta Energy


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

Similar projects
Bid to Purchase Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi Oil and Gas Assets

Recent Projects


Bid to Purchase Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi Oil and Gas Assets

UK listed oil and gas explorer Mosman Oil & Gas was successful in striking a deal with Origin Energy to purchase the Taranaki Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi (RKM) petroleum fields and associated petroleum production infrastructure.


Alas, with oil prices falling below US$40 per barrel for a sustained period, Mosman and its joint venture partners were forced to cancel the sale and purchase agreement.  Reportedly, the assets may still be available for purchase.
Partner Brigid McArthur and solicitors Susan Baas and Kurt McRedmond worked with Mosman on its acquisition project, including on its due diligence, sale and purchase negotiations and applications for New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals and Overseas Investment Office consents.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Establishment of CarboNZero Certified Ecotricity Limited Partnership

Recent Projects


Establishment of CarboNZero Certified Ecotricity Limited Partnership

Ecotricity is New Zealand’s only “carboNZero” certified, 100% renewable electricity retailer. This means that it sources electricity only from sustainable and renewable sources, such as hydro and wind.



Partner Brigid McArthur recently acted for Ecotricity Limited on the establishment of the joint venture, by way of limited partnership, with Pioneer Generation Limited.  Pioneer owns and operates some significant renewable generation projects in the South Island.  The Ecotricity Limited Partnership is also investing in electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.
Together, Ecotricity and Pioneer are championing the case for investment in renewables and we congratulate them on their venture.  They are at the forefront of what is a growing trend away from conventional fossil fuel based technologies.  Your support can be enhanced by visiting the Ecotricity website and checking the deals on offer.  www.ecotricity.co.nz


Key lawyers involved

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Greenwood Roche assists French construction giant

Recent Projects

Greenwood Roche assists French construction giant

Greenwood Roche assists French construction giant

Australasian utility contractor Electrix, part of McConnell Dowell, has been acquired by French construction giant VINCI Energies. Electrix has approximately 2,000 employees located in New Zealand and Australia and provides a range of maintenance and construction services for utility providers.


Greenwood Roche assisted VINCI in respect of New Zealand aspects of the transaction, working closely with VINCI Energies’ international legal teams from Baker McKenzie (Sydney) and Bolze Associés (Paris).  Greenwood Roche is proud to have worked with VINCI and its legal team on this project.

About VINCI:
 

  • VINCI Energies' is the world’s largest company in construction and related services and is listed on Euronext's Paris stock exchange and is a member of the CAC 40 index.
  • According to its website, in 2013 the VINCI Group had 171,678 employees and worked on 266,000 projects in 100 countries – with VINCI Energies having around 63,000 employees in 45 countries.
  • For more information on VINCI Energies, please visit www.vinci.com


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Bathurst Resources – Buller Coal Project

Recent Projects

Bathurst Resources – Buller Coal Project

Bathurst Resources – Buller Coal Project

New Zealanders are well aware of the severe challenges Bathurst Resources has overcome in progressing its West Coast coal mining project.


Greenwood Roche has been part of the Bathurst team on some important parts of the Buller Project, advising on land acquisition and land rights for the coal handling and preparation facility and the proposed aerial conveyor, and obtaining requisite Overseas Investment Office approvals.
 
We have also been acting jointly for Bathurst Resources and Westport Harbour on their joint arrangements for the siting, construction and operation of a coal handling facility at Westport Port.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Northern Interceptor and North Harbour No. 2 Pipeline Projects

Greenwood Roche is assisting Watercare with these two strategic pipeline projects...

Recent Projects


Northern Interceptor and North Harbour No. 2 Pipeline Projects

Greenwood Roche is assisting Watercare with these two strategic pipeline projects designed to enable Watercare to keep up with the proposed growth in the northwest of Auckland.


These two projects are estimated to cost Watercare $800 million. The Northern Interceptor wastewater project will be constructed in various stages with construction to begin soon on stage one to service the growth areas in Massey North, Whenuapai, Hobsonville, Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead. The North Harbour No.2 watermain will service the new Albany reservoir and will replace the existing watermain which cannot be maintained without disrupting local water supplies.

Hadleigh Yonge is leading Greenwood Roche’s team which is advising Watercare on all aspects of these projects, including providing strategic advice, negotiating and acquiring property rights, and advising and dealing with issues relating to compensation.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

Similar projects
Watercare’s North Shore Trunk Sewer 8

Recent Projects


Watercare’s North Shore Trunk Sewer 8

Watercare Services Limited is responsible for providing water and wastewater services to the greater Auckland region and is undertaking a number of projects to increase its infrastructure network.


Greenwood Roche is advising Watercare on the construction of a significant new wastewater pipeline in the Northcote area. The project affects a number of properties including private and various forms of public land.  Our work has included the acquisition of property rights to enter and construct the works, and issues relating to compensation.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Waipa Networks’ new transmission line

Recent Projects


Waipa Networks’ new transmission line

Waipa Networks has identified the need to construct a new 110kV transmission line to increase the security and reliability of electricity supply to Te Awamutu and the surrounding areas.


We are advising Waipa Networks on this project. Our work has included strategic advice, acquisition of land property rights, Maori land issues, and advice on compulsory acquisition rights and compensation entitlements.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Aratiatia hydroelectric plant refurbishment

Greenwood Roche has assisted Mighty River Power with the procurement and negotiation...

Aratiatia hydroelectric plant refurbishment

Recent Projects

Aratiatia hydroelectric plant refurbishment

Aratiatia hydroelectric plant refurbishment

Greenwood Roche has assisted Mighty River Power with the procurement and negotiation of contracts for its plant refurbishment project at Aratiatia


Austria-based Andritz was awarded the contract to provide work on three generating units at the 78-MW Aratiatia hydroelectric station.

The Greenwood Roche team for this project comprised partner Barry Walker and special counsel Adrian Doherty.  Barry and Adrian are experienced international construction project lawyers, comfortable using a variety of international standard documents, including FIDIC, to assist in smooth cross-border negotiations.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Mitre 10 Support Centre

Greenwood Roche assisted Mitre 10 with its new head office project in Auckland...

Recent Projects


Mitre 10 Support Centre

Greenwood Roche assisted Mitre 10 with its new head office project in Auckland


Greenwood Roche acted for Mitre 10 in respect of the procurement and engagement of the contractor and consultant team for its new head office and support centre in Albany.

The facility will comprise approximately 7,000 m² at 65-67 Corinthian Drive, Albany, Auckland. It is being developed by Mitre 10 itself and is due for completion in late 2016.

The Greenwood Roche team for the project included partner Barry Walker and special counsel Adrian Doherty.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Bid to Purchase Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi Oil and Gas Assets

UK listed oil and gas explorer Mosman Oil & Gas was successful in striking a deal...

Bid to Purchase Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi Oil and Gas Assets

Recent Projects


Bid to Purchase Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi Oil and Gas Assets

UK listed oil and gas explorer Mosman Oil & Gas was successful in striking a deal with Origin Energy to purchase the Taranaki Rimu, Kauri and Manutahi (RKM) petroleum fields and associated petroleum production infrastructure.


Alas, with oil prices falling below US$40 per barrel for a sustained period, Mosman and its joint venture partners were forced to cancel the sale and purchase agreement.  Reportedly, the assets may still be available for purchase.
Partner Brigid McArthur and solicitors Susan Baas and Kurt McRedmond worked with Mosman on its acquisition project, including on its due diligence, sale and purchase negotiations and applications for New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals and Overseas Investment Office consents.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Establishment of CarboNZero Certified Ecotricity Limited Partnership

Ecotricity is New Zealand’s only “carboNZero” certified, 100% renewable electricity...

Establishment of CarboNZero Certified Ecotricity Limited Partnership

Recent Projects


Establishment of CarboNZero Certified Ecotricity Limited Partnership

Ecotricity is New Zealand’s only “carboNZero” certified, 100% renewable electricity retailer. This means that it sources electricity only from sustainable and renewable sources, such as hydro and wind.



Partner Brigid McArthur recently acted for Ecotricity Limited on the establishment of the joint venture, by way of limited partnership, with Pioneer Generation Limited.  Pioneer owns and operates some significant renewable generation projects in the South Island.  The Ecotricity Limited Partnership is also investing in electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.
Together, Ecotricity and Pioneer are championing the case for investment in renewables and we congratulate them on their venture.  They are at the forefront of what is a growing trend away from conventional fossil fuel based technologies.  Your support can be enhanced by visiting the Ecotricity website and checking the deals on offer.  www.ecotricity.co.nz


Key lawyers involved

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New National Head Office for Ministry of Education

Greenwood Roche represented the Ministry of Education on the redevelopment and 15...

New National Head Office for Ministry of Education

Recent Projects

New National Head Office for Ministry of Education

New National Head Office for Ministry of Education

Greenwood Roche represented the Ministry of Education on the redevelopment and 15 year lease of the Ministry’s new national head office at 33 Bowen Street, Wellington.


At approximately 13,100m2, the Bowen Street transaction was a full building lease and one of the largest commercial office leasing deals in New Zealand for the year. Greenwood Roche assisted the Ministry on all aspects of the negotiation and documents for the transaction, which included substantial refurbishment works, a seismic upgrade for the building and an integrated fitout.

The Greenwood Roche team for the deal were partner Jeannie Warnock and principal Doran Wyatt, both based in Wellington.
 


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

Similar projects
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – New National Office Redevelopment

Recent Projects

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – New National Office Redevelopment

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – New National Office Redevelopment

At over 20,000m2 of space, the redevelopment of a landmark Wellington building has provided the New Zealand Government’s largest Ministry with a substantial new National Office.


Greenwood Roche has successfully assisted the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment in the redevelopment and lease of MBIE’s new National Office premises in Wellington.
 
Greenwood Roche has continued to provide advice to MBIE throughout the course of the redevelopment, including assisting with the sale of the building to an NZX-listed property investment company during the project.
 
MBIE’s new National Office is one of a number of substantial redevelopment projects within Wellington on which Greenwood Roche has acted.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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New National Head Office for Transpower

Recent Projects


New National Head Office for Transpower

Greenwood Roche represented Transpower New Zealand Limited in relation to the redevelopment and lease of Transpower’s future national head office at Boulcott Street, Wellington.


Transpower plans, builds, maintains and operates New Zealand’s high voltage electricity transmission network. The new premises will house around 500 staff and the 24/7 control room for the National Grid.  At approximately 8,400m2, the Boulcott Street transaction is one of the largest commercial office leasing deals in New Zealand this year.

The Greenwood Roche team included partner John Greenwood and principal Doran Wyatt, both based in the firm’s Wellington office.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Redevelopment of 56 The Terrace, Wellington

Recent Projects


Redevelopment of 56 The Terrace, Wellington

Kiwi Income Property Trust, one of the country’s largest listed property investors, is undertaking a $67 million redevelopment of its property at 56 The Terrace, Wellington, for lease by the Ministry of Social Development.


We are advising Kiwi Income Property Trust on this project. Our work has included advising on the development agreement and the 18 year deed of lease with the Crown and preparing and advising on the construction contract for the development works.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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New Co-located Processing facility in Palmerston North

Recent Projects


New Co-located Processing facility in Palmerston North

New Zealand Post has recently commenced operations at its new Manawatu Co-located Processing Facility.


Comprising over 7,000 square metres including a mail processing warehouse, staging interchange areas, and associated office accommodation (and a combined investment of over $10 million), the facility houses NZ Post’s mail processing functions for the entire lower North Island.

The facility is situated in the heart of Palmerston North’s main industrial area, and is strategically convenient to all major transport systems in the city (including the airport, state highways and rail network).

Greenwood Roche assisted NZ Post on the development, construction and leasing aspects of the facility. The development agreement provided for delivery of tenant works as a variation to the landlord's main contract and early engagement of the Main Contractor on a fixed margin open book basis. Both features enabled the project to be completed seamlessly to a tight schedule while maintaining the appropriate distribution of risk and responsibility between the parties.
 


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Watercare’s new head office

Recent Projects

Watercare’s new head office

Watercare’s new head office

Watercare Services Limited is responsible for providing water and wastewater services to the greater Auckland region, and employs a large number of people across many different teams.


We acted for Watercare in relation to its new head office premises located in Newmarket, Auckland. This was a significant project, involving the negotiation of a comprehensive redevelopment agreement and subsequent deed of lease, and further extensive advice in relation to Watercare’s ability to terminate its existing tenancies at that time.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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New Co-located Processing facility in Palmerston North

New Zealand Post has recently commenced operations at its new Manawatu Co-located...

Recent Projects


New Co-located Processing facility in Palmerston North

New Zealand Post has recently commenced operations at its new Manawatu Co-located Processing Facility.


Comprising over 7,000 square metres including a mail processing warehouse, staging interchange areas, and associated office accommodation (and a combined investment of over $10 million), the facility houses NZ Post’s mail processing functions for the entire lower North Island.

The facility is situated in the heart of Palmerston North’s main industrial area, and is strategically convenient to all major transport systems in the city (including the airport, state highways and rail network).

Greenwood Roche assisted NZ Post on the development, construction and leasing aspects of the facility. The development agreement provided for delivery of tenant works as a variation to the landlord's main contract and early engagement of the Main Contractor on a fixed margin open book basis. Both features enabled the project to be completed seamlessly to a tight schedule while maintaining the appropriate distribution of risk and responsibility between the parties.
 


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News & Insights

Insights

King Salmon Reigns

The High Court decision of Davidson Family Trust v Marlborough District Council [2017]...

News & Insights

King Salmon Reigns

The High Court decision of Davidson Family Trust v Marlborough District Council [2017] NZHC 52, clarifies how the King Salmon (Environmental Defense Society Inc v The New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd [2014] NZSC 38) decision should be applied in relation to resource consent applications.


In summary, the Supreme Court in King Salmon found that unless there is invalidity, incomplete coverage or uncertainty of meaning in the statutory planning documents, there is no need to look at Part 2 of the RMA when making decisions on plan changes. The Court reasoned that Councils are required to give effect to Part 2 in preparing planning documents, therefore a further assessment of Part 2 would be unnecessary duplication.

When the King Salmon case came out it was considered a ‘game changer’ as it related to plan changes, however it did not clarify whether the ruling applied to decisions on resource consents. Since King Salmon, the Environment Court has taken a tentative approach on how King Salmon should be interpreted in respect of resource consent applications (see: RJ Davidson Family Trust v Marlborough DC [2016] NZEnvC 81 and KPF Investments v Marlborough DC [2014] NZEnvc 152). The Davidson High Court judgement clarifies how decision makers should apply Part 2 of the RMA when assessing a resource consent application. Davidson confirms that the ruling in King Salmon applies to resource consent applications, as it would be “inconsistent with the scheme of the RMA and King Salmon to allow Regional or District Plans to be rendered ineffective by general recourse to Part 2 in deciding resource consent applications” (Davidson Family Trust v Marlborough District Council [2017] NZHC 52 at [63]).

In practical terms, this means that in completing a resource consent application the main focus should be on the planning documents, such as National and Regional Policy Statements and Regional and District Plans, rather than focusing on the matters outlined in Part 2 of the RMA. Part 2 of the RMA should be referred to only in circumstances where plans are outdated or there are inconsistent objectives and policies. Many resource management practitioners have adopted this approach since King Salmon. The Davidson case confirms that this is the correct approach.

The High Court delivered their judgement on the 31st January 2017, so it is possible that this decision will be appealed to the Court of Appeal.


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The Auckland Unitary Plan – Development Potential

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) was notified as Operative (in part) on 15 November 2016. ...

News & Insights

The Auckland Unitary Plan – Development Potential

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) was notified as Operative (in part) on 15 November 2016.  (Some provisions are yet to be made operative, pending the resolution of a number of appeals to the Environment and High Courts.)  The AUP is the rulebook for Auckland’s future development, determining what we can build and where we can build it.  Auckland’s population is expected to increase by up to 1 million additional residents over the next 30 years and providing for that demand was a central issue during development of the AUP, with the debate between Auckland Council and submitters focussed on whether Auckland’s growth should be accommodated in taller buildings or if Auckland’s urban limits should be allowed to “sprawl”.


Ultimately, Auckland will need to grow both up and out to meet projected demand.  Under the AUP, there are four primary residential zones across Auckland.  The higher density zones will serve as the focus for future intensification, while the single house zone has been used to identify areas where lower density residential neighbourhoods (often with character or heritage value) are to be preserved:

1.  Single house: The purpose of the Residential – Single House Zone is to maintain the amenity values of established residential neighbourhoods. The particular amenity values of a neighbourhood may be based on special character informed by heritage features, large sites with significant trees, a coastal setting or other factors such as a specific neighbourhood character. This zone is generally characterised by one or two storey buildings consistent with a suburban built character.

2.  Mixed housing suburban: The Residential – Mixed Housing Suburban Zone is the most widespread residential zone covering many established suburbs and some greenfields areas. The zone enables intensification, while retaining a suburban built character. Development within the zone is generally intended to be two storey detached and attached housing in a variety of types and sizes to provide housing choice.

3.  Mixed housing urban: The Residential – Mixed Housing Urban Zone is a reasonably high-intensity zone enabling a greater intensity of development than that provided previously. Over time, the appearance of neighbourhoods within this zone is intended to change, with development typically up to three storeys in a variety of sizes and forms, including detached dwellings, terrace housing and low-rise apartments. Up to two dwellings are permitted as of right subject to compliance with the standards.

4.  Terrace housing and apartment buildings: The Residential – Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings Zone is predominantly located around metropolitan, town and local centres and the public transport network to support the greatest density, height and scale of development of all the residential zones. Buildings are enabled up to five, six or seven storeys in identified Height Variation Control areas, depending on the scale of the adjoining centre, to achieve a transition in height from the centre to lower scale residential zones. This form of development will, over time, result in a change from a suburban to urban built character with a high degree of visual change.

Whilst there is speculation that the Auckland housing market may be cooling, shrewd investors and developers are pouring over the AUP to identify land with favourable zoning.  A premium will inevitably be placed on land nearby town centres and transport corridors that are likely to thrive with the benefit of improved public transport networks.

The key to maximising opportunities presented by the AUP will be identifying land that is well located but also of a sufficient size to enable a feasible development to take place. Some commentators are predicting that approximately only 15% of the new zones will be utilised to their potential. This is understandable given that some well-established residential suburbs have been zoned for terraced housing and apartment buildings, but will require the amalgamation of several individually held titles before any development of real scale can be progressed.  In other locations, while land has been up-zoned, new infrastructure or upgrades to provide additional capacity are required before further intensification can occur.

Investors and developers will also find more choices available as a result of the new residential zoning.  House-hunters previously faced two primary options: detached dwellings or small apartments.  The AUP’s flexibility will allow other types of homes (duplexes and townhouses) and greater variety in terms of size.  In particular, the relaxation of density rules creates many more opportunities to subdivide small sections both vertically (eg terraced housing) and horizontally (eg multi-storey flats). 

The new opportunities for small-scale development could not have come at a more important time.  Financing large projects has become more difficult.  The apartment squeeze in Australia (particularly in Sydney, where off-the-plan purchasers are reportedly walking away from deposits) has put the pressure on New Zealand subsidiaries of Australian banks to tidy up their loan books and steer away from property.  At the same time, New Zealand is in the midst of a construction boom.  Our construction industry, made up of many small to medium sized businesses, is struggling to up-scale to meet the demands of new major projects.  Small-scale developments can help to avoid both these issues:  the capital costs are significantly lower (smaller-scale builds avoid the large land requirements and expensive mechanical services associated with apartment complexes) and they are a more natural fit for our construction industry.  As it becomes increasingly difficult to obtain funding for apartments, Auckland will rely on a more modest section-by-section approach to increasing density and alleviating the housing shortage.

As with any property development or investment, due diligence will be paramount when assessing the AUP and the impact it may have. Our team at Greenwood Roche comprises experienced advisers and would be happy to help with any queries.

Chris Moore (Partner)
Chris is one of New Zealand’s leading property lawyers and is the immediate Past President of the New Zealand Law Society, following from his role as the chair of the Property Law Section of the Law Society from 2004-2013.  He has over 35 years’ experience in commercial leasing and commercial property issues acting for a range of public and private sector clients. 

Francelle Lupis (Principal)
Francelle offers specialist advice on law reform and district and regional plan formulation.  Over the last four years she has been closely involved in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan process, including early involvement in the draft Plan, feedback and formal submissions, convening and leading submitter working groups to reach collaborative outcomes, and participation in mediations/hearings for a large number of clients and industry groups.


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Update: Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015

In October this year, the Government introduced a Bill which would provide that the new...

News & Insights

Update: Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015

In October this year, the Government introduced a Bill which would provide that the new retentions regime under the Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2015, due to come into force from 31 March 2017, will not apply to a construction contract that was entered into before 31 March 2017.


Under the current Amendment Act, the regime would apply to any retentions money held under commercial construction contracts from 31 March 2017, regardless of when the contract was entered.  The proposed change has been issued in response to the significant concerns raised by the industry regarding the approach under the Amendment Act, discussed further in this article here.
 
The Bill is currently before the Select Committee.
 
For further information regarding the Construction Contracts Act 2002 or any construction related matters, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team.


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Greenwood Roche expands Resource Management team

Greenwood Roche is delighted to welcome Francelle Lupis as a Principal in our national...

Greenwood Roche expands Resource Management team

News & Insights

Greenwood Roche expands Resource Management team

Greenwood Roche expands Resource Management team

Greenwood Roche is delighted to welcome Francelle Lupis as a Principal in our national Resource Management team.


Francelle joins Greenwood Roche having spent the last ten years at a large Auckland firm, after returning from London.  Francelle’s appointment expands our Resource Management capability in Auckland and she will be working alongside our existing specialists Lauren Semple, Monique Thomas, Hannah Marks, Rachel Murdoch, Georgina Thomas and Sean Conway.


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Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year 2016

We were pleased to continue our support of the Property Council Southern Excellence awards...

Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year 2016

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Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year 2016

Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year 2016

We were pleased to continue our support of the Property Council Southern Excellence awards which recognise and celebrate the people in property in the South Island. The award winners were announced in a spectacular event in Christchurch on 18 November 2016.


Congratulations to Nick Yannakis of Powell Fenwick Consultants, the winner of the Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year Award.  Nick, in his role as Technical Director, has worked on a variety of leading projects including the QEII Recreation and Sports Centre, the Transitional Cathedral, the Christchurch Arts Centre and currently the Metro Sports Facility.  Nick will also receive a prize provided by the Property Council’s South Island Education Trust which includes complementary attendance at the Property Council’s National Conference in 2017.
 
James Riddoch, in presenting Nick with the award, said, "We are delighted to be able to continue our support for the Property Council and the Southern Excellence Awards through this award.  The quality of nominees for the Greenwood Roche Young Achiever of the Year was very high and should stand the South Island property sector in good stead for the future.  Congratulations to Nick, a very worthy recipient for his ongoing commitment to, and excellence in, property (particularly in relation to aquatic engineering) and his significant contribution to his community".


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Questioning the pre-circulation rule in the Resource Management Act 1991 - Time for a rethink?

Public participation in the resource consent process is a hotly-contested area of debate....

News & Insights

Questioning the pre-circulation rule in the Resource Management Act 1991 - Time for a rethink?

Public participation in the resource consent process is a hotly-contested area of debate.


In the November issue of the Property Lawyer Magazine, Greenwood Roche lawyers Sean Conway and Rachel Murdoch examine the merits or otherwise of the pre-circulation of expert evidence rule in the Resource Management Act 1991. Click here for a link to their article.


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Update on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

In late 2015, the National government introduced a suite of resource management law reforms...

Update on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

News & Insights

Update on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

Update on the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

In late 2015, the National government introduced a suite of resource management law reforms through the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLAB). The RLAB received over 750 written submissions and heard oral submissions in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch over a two month period. This update provides an overview of where in the process the RLAB is, the key changes proposed by the RLAB and the key concerns raised in submissions.


Where is the bill in the legislative process?

Over the past couple of months there has been a great deal of parliamentary commentary as to whether the National Party would be able to obtain sufficient support to pass the RLAB. It is understood that the support of the Maori party has now been gained by ensuring that provisions relating to Iwi Participation Agreements (IPAs) remain in the amended legislation.

The RLAB is currently with the Local Government and Environment Select Committee. The Committee has been granted a number of extensions due to the extent of submissions received and it is expected that the report will be presented to Parliament for its second reading in the first quarter of 2017.

Key changes proposed in RLAB

RLAB proposes a number of changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) including;

  • The introduction of regulation making powers designed to permit specified land uses and  avoid unreasonable restrictions on certain land by prohibiting and removing Council planning provisions;
  • Enabling the development of a national planning template;
  • Amendments to ensure Councils provide sufficient land for residential and business development;
  • Provisions to allow for collaborative planning processes and ‘special’ planning processes as an alternative to normal planning processes;
  • The introduction of procedural changes designed for ‘fast tracking’, such as reduced opportunities for public participation; and
  • The introduction of IPAs.
The RLAB also proposes amendments to other environmental legislation such as the Reserves Act, Public Works Act, Conservation Act and the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Act.

Key issues raised in submissions

The key issues raised in submissions relate to:
  • The reduction of appeal rights;
  • The reduction of public participation opportunities;
  • Increased centralised decision making;
  • Introduction of iwi provisions;
  • Effect of changes on ‘environmental bottom lines’; and
  • Whether the proposed changes would achieve their intended outcomes. 
Reduction in appeal rights

The RLAB proposes a number of amendments that would reduce appeal rights, including restricting the ability to appeal to the Environment Court for residential and subdivision activities unless they have a non complying activity status, restrictions on appeal rights in the new alternative planning processes and the ability to strike out submissions on resource consents that do not have a sufficient factual basis or are not supported by evidence.

Many submitters have raised concerns about restricting appeal rights, saying that merit appeals are a critical check on decision making powers. Submitters have also raised concerns with the proposed mandatory strike out of submissions that do not meet certain criteria. It is considered by some that this would be unfair and would discourage lay submitters, who do not have experience with the resource management process.    

Reduction in public participation opportunities

Changes to notification and affected party provisions, the ability for Council’ to limited notify plan changes and the new regulation making powers that would allow the Minister to further suppress notification provisions, are all ways the RLAB proposes to limit public participation.

Public participation is one of the cornerstones of the RMA and is seen by many as enabling a more holistic view of effects on the environment and increasing the quality of decision making. Others argue that public participation is time consuming and costly for limited improvement in the quality of decisions.  It is this tension that will lie at the heart of many people’s views about the appropriateness or otherwise of the proposed reforms.  Notably, many Councils have said in their submissions that they doubt whether the proposed changes will result in the desired outcome of improved efficiency, given only about 4% of all applications are currently notified.

Increase in centralised decision making

The RLAB proposes to centralise a number of decision making powers to ensure nation-wide consistency. It is proposed that this would be achieved through:
  • new regulation making powers that could override current provisions and prohibit Councils from making further provisions that would unreasonably restrict land use for residential development;
  • regulatory powers that further limit notification processes;
  • the introduction of national planning templates with an ability to include mandatory objectives, policies and rules;
  • Ministerial decision making on streamlined planning processes; and
  • the removal of the control of Hazardous substances from Local Authorities.
While some of these processes such as a national planning template were generally supported, concerns have been raised about the extent of power that the Minister would obtain. Many submitters raised a concern that this was leaning too far on the idea of centralised decision making and that many ‘grassroots’ local decisions will be lost. Localised decision making can be useful in resource management processes as different environmental outcomes can be required across New Zealand.

Introduction of iwi provisions

Iwi Participation Agreements (IPAs) are a mechanism that enables iwi and councils to develop processes on how iwi can be involved in resource management processes to ensure that there is a shared understanding of each party’s expectations and roles. Many councils and iwi have already developed IPAs through various treaty settlements and good practice. The proposed changes in the RLAB are aimed to ensure consistency of IPAs nationwide and to ensure that IPAs are developed between all councils and iwi.

A number of individual submitters called for these provisions to be removed from the RLAB as they were opposed in principle to the idea of distinctions being made on the basis of race and claimed that this would be undemocratic to other members of the community. In general, IPAs were supported by other submitter groups such as industry groups, local government and environmental groups. Concerns were expressed from these groups about cost to local councils and iwi to develop IPAs, whether recognition will be given to existing arrangements and the definition of ‘iwi authority’. IPA processes were also supported by iwi submitters, many who considered that IPAs should be similar in nature to the ‘Mana Whakahone a Rohe’ model outlined in the MOE consultation document 'Next steps for fresh water' available here.

Effect of changes on environmental bottom lines

A number of environmental groups have raised concerns about the cumulative effect of the proposed changes on environmental bottom lines. The proposed changes include the ability for consent authority to waive the requirement for resource consent, environmental offsetting, the ability for consent rules to be more lenient that National Environmental Standards, limiting the scope of resource consent submissions and allowing the Environment Court to allow councils to acquire land.

Whether proposed changes will achieve their intended outcomes

Many submissions questioned whether the RLAB would achieve their intended outcomes and whether a more fundamental review of the RMA was required. Some of the key outcomes of the RLAB were to streamline resource consent processes, increase national consistency and reduce the cost of resource management processes.

Many submitters commented that the proposed changes were likely to increase rather than reduce the complexity of the RMA, as a result of the overhaul to the notification provisions and the introduction of the two new planning processes. Submitters were also concerned that a cost-benefit analysis has not been prepared about the cost burdens which local councils could face in implementing the reforms.
The main thread throughout many of the submissions was whether the timing was suitable for a reform of the RMA, or whether the reforms should be introduced after the reviews of the planning system were completed by Local Government New Zealand and the Productivity Commission. 

Where to from here?

From our review of the submissions, we consider that it is likely that there will be safeguards put in place to limit the extent of Ministerial powers as this was a key concern raised in the majority of submissions. We also consider that the proposed changes to public participation will generate a great deal of scrutiny during the select committee process and may not survive in their current form.  We will continue to post updates as more information on this legislation comes to hand.


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National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity Released

...files/download/0fa9df1ac288a34">“The Urban Development NPS has been delivered in less than nine months – far less than the standard time of three years.  This reflects the importance of action on housing and the increased emphasis of national Resource Management Act tools.  It sits alongside the new Unitary Plan and Government’s RMA reforms to address the core issue of increasing land supply.” – Environment Minister Dr. Nick Smith" char_limit="85"}}

National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity Released

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