We don’t stand apart. When briefed by a client we become an embedded part of the team. We engage our depth of knowledge and commercial acumen to swiftly identify what’s required from the outset – and set about delivering it. It’s not a revelatory approach, but it is refreshing, competitive and deeply efficient – and enjoyable.It has earned us a market reputation as a leader in our areas of expertise where we have established:
A prominent position on the “All of Government” external legal services panel.
A substantial public and private sector client base.
Regular appointments to nationally significant projects.
“They operate with a level of charisma in the room – certainly not order takers. They sense the gaps then find the solutions.”
To ensure our specialists are always where they’re needed, we operate as one firm with hubs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. We advise on a range of public and private sector projects.
On 23rd December 2018 Hon Poto Williams, the Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration approved a proposal to amend the Christchurch District Plan provisions for Hagley Oval to enable it to host large international fixtures and meet modern day broadcasting requirements.
Greenwood Roche assisted Regenerate Christchurch in developing the proposal on behalf of the Canterbury Cricket Trust.
The proposal approved by the Minister amends the Christchurch District Plan through section 71 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 (GCR Act). The approved proposal incorporates the current resource consent conditions into the Plan and amends certain aspects of those conditions, including:
Amending the current condition to increase the four, retractable light towers to allow six permanent light towers to meet international broadcast standards.
Allow more lenient pack in and out timeframes for temporary facilities associated with hosting cricket matches to improve health and safety and limit damage to the Oval grounds.
Increasing the number of fixtures allowed per season, including an allowance for hosting International Cricket Council events on years that they occur.
These changes will mean that Hagley Oval will be able to host day-night matches that are now required by top-tier teams, allowing Hagley Oval to be more competitive when bidding for games compared to its rival cricket grounds. With the Women’s Cricket World Cup approaching in 2021, the changes will allow Christchurch City to bid for and host games in this tournament.
Through the public participation stage of the process, 1,253 written comments were received, of which 83 percent were in favour of the proposal.
The Minister’s decision can be viewed at the following link: https://dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2019-12/Hagley Oval - Section 71 Proposal - Signed Decision Paper_1.pdf
Francelle Lupis and Amelia Alden recently assisted Summerset Villages (St Johns) Limited in obtaining resource consent for a large retirement village in St Johns, Auckland.
The application was heard in the Environment Court, where Judge Smith, Commissioner Gysberts and Commissioner Prime held the consent as proposed “is appropriate and properly balances the interests of intensification with the need for compatibility with the residential environment and the impact on visual amenity”.
The village will range between two and six storeys and contain 328 units made up of independent living units, serviced units and care / dementia rooms.
Greenwood Roche is acting for the Link Alliance on New Zealand’s largest ever transport infrastructure project to deliver the country’s first underground railway, connecting Auckland’s existing train networks and transforming the city’s public transport system.
The City Rail Link is a 3.45km twin tunnel underground rail link that will run up to 42 metres beneath downtown Auckland to connect Britomart Station with a redeveloped Mount Eden Station. The project also creates two new underground stations – Aotea Station, at Wellesley and Victoria Streets, and Karangahape Station near Mercury Lane and Beresford Square.
The Link Alliance consortium, who will deliver the main stations and tunnels for this project, comprises:
- City Rail Link Limited
- Vinci Construction Grands Projects S.A.S
- Downer NZ Limited
- Soletanche Bachy International NZ Limited
- WSP New Zealand Limited
- AECOM New Zealand Limited
- Tonkin + Taylor Limited
Amy Rutherford is fronting the Greenwood Roche team on this project, which is expected to run through until 2024 and will include the procurement of approximately 600 different packages with both domestic and international subcontractors, suppliers and consultants. Greenwood Roche is advising the Link Alliance on various aspects of the City Rail Link Project, including providing strategic project delivery advice, preparing the procurement suite of contracts and assisting with downstream negotiations and engagements.
On Friday 23 August, the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration announced her approval of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan. The Plan was developed by Regenerate Christchurch under the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016. It outlines the vision and objectives for the future of the 600ha Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor (the former residential red zone), and directs the inclusion of an accompanying planning framework to enable the realisation of that Vision.
This area is significant in many ways for Christchurch/Otautahi. It has been and continues to be an area comprising sites and geographical features of cultural importance to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga. The area also comprises various other sites of historical significance to Christchurch/Ōtautahi and is traversed by the Ōtākaro Avon River which is itself a key feature of the city’s identity and urban framework. In developing this Plan Regenerate Christchurch has therefore sought to acknowledge the significance of this area to the wider Christchurch/Ōtautahi community, as well as working with the environmental constraints and opportunities that it provides.
The process has taken time and has not been without its challenges – the size and geographical constraints of the area, the various interests and feedback from stakeholders, community groups and members of the public, and the uncertainties particularly around future implementation have all been matters to carefully consider and address. The Plan’s vision and objectives and the accompanying framework for the Area are broad. While they have strong focus areas (including ecology, recreation, economic opportunity and community connection), they also seek to recognise that the regeneration of this Area will take time, and that new ideas, new technology and new activities which are not currently contemplated should be allowed to take place. The vision and objectives therefore operate as a touchstone against which future decisions can be made – ensuring a clear aspiration for the area while still allowing flexibility to adjust to a changing future.
The approval of the Plan by the Minister (and the Ombudsman’s recent finding as to its legal and evidential rigour) is a significant endorsement of the work done by the Regenerate Christchurch team on this project. Greenwood Roche lawyers, Lauren Semple and Rachel Murdoch have been privileged to advise Regenerate Christchurch on the development of this Plan, the exercise of its powers under the Act in respect of this and other projects, and its general regeneration mandate. It is extremely satisfying to see the Plan become operative and attention now turn to its implementation.
Greenwood Roche recently secured resource consent to re-develop an existing complex for Kāinga Ora–Homes and Communities in Mount Cook, Wellington
The new development will replace the original structures that were built in the 1950’s, with four new fit-for-purpose buildings that will provide long-stay accommodation for up to 218 social housing tenants.
Twenty of the units are to be reserved to accommodate residents receiving support through the Housing First programme. This is a government-led programme to house and support people who have been homeless for a long time, or are homeless and face multiple and complex issues. The development will also include a community space, a residents support space and on-site staff.
This re-development comes as part of a nationwide $5.6 billon build programme being undertaken by Kāinga Ora to address the housing shortages across New Zealand, but particularly in the biggest urban centres where those shortages are most acute.
Greenwood Roche's team on this project was led by Lauren Semple and Rachel Murdoch.
Greenwood Roche is assisting the Crown in the preparation and registration of Forestry Rights as part of the One Billion Trees Programme developed by the Government.
The Government has set a goal to plant one billion trees by 2028. Progress towards achieving this target is well underway.
The One Billion Trees Programme supports New Zealand’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change. By absorbing carbon dioxide, tree planting reduces the impact of greenhouse gases. As well as addressing the impacts of climate change, the Programme aims to create increased sustainable regional development, increased employment, optimise land use, support Māori values and aspirations, protect the environment and support New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy.
The programme involves the planting of both permanent trees and plantation forests. The Crown estimates that commercial foresters will plant 500 million trees by 2028. The Crown is issuing direct landowner grants and entering into partnership projects to help plant the other 500 million trees. For example, funding will be allocated to research and workforce initiatives. To help achieve the target, Crown Forestry is also entering into joint ventures and forestry rights to plant commercial forestry on privately owned land.
Greenwood Roche is involved with the preparation and registration of Forestry Rights over privately owned land. As at the end of November 2019, the Crown has entered into over 40 Forestry Rights covering over 20,000 hectares with more being negotiated and finalised. Under the Forestry Rights, the Crown plants, manages and harvests trees on the land and pays an annual rental to the landowner. An estimated 18,443,000 trees will be planted over the next two years under the Forestry Rights signed to date.
27 November 2019 marked the release of the latest version of the commonly-used agreement for sale and purchase of real estate.
While the new version released by Auckland District Law Society Incorporated and Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Incorporated is intended to be easier to read and incorporates some useful changes, the most significant changes relate to the vendor’s warranties, compensation claims by purchasers, Good and Services Tax and toxicology reports.
The agreement introduces a new standard warranty given by vendors that, at the date of the agreement, the vendor has no knowledge of any fact that might result in legal proceedings (including referral to mediation or arbitration) other being brought in relation to the property. This is a broad warranty, and vendors will need to consider whether anything exists that might give rise to proceedings before they enter the agreement.
The procedures for a purchaser to claim compensation now include a two step process in situations where the vendor disputes the purchaser’s claim to compensation. Previously, a vendor could pressure a purchaser into settling for the full amount as the consequences for the purchaser for failing to settle would be significant if the purchaser was later found to be wrong. The new agreement allows for the dispute about the purchaser’s right to claim compensation to be dealt with in advance of determining the interim amount to be withheld on settlement, but does not deal with the substantive claim.
The GST provisions have been updated to protect the vendor where the agreement provides for a GST-inclusive price with the expectation of a zero-rated sale, and the purchaser changes its status before settlement so that the vendor needs to account for GST from the purchase price. This is intended to ensure that the vendor does not lose out due to the purchaser’s actions.
A new optional condition has been inserted which allows for the agreement to be entered into conditional on the purchaser obtaining a satisfactory toxicology report. The purpose of the report is to test contamination from the preparation, manufacturing or use of drugs with specific reference to methamphetamine. The report must be completed objectively and in good faith, and must be in writing.
The finance clause has also been amended so that the purchaser is able to select what financial institution the purchaser wants to seek funding from. If the purchaser seeks to avoid the agreement for non-satisfaction of this condition, the purchaser must give the vendor reasonable evidence confirming that finance is not available.
There remains no standard solicitor’s approval as to title condition, valuation condition or due diligence condition. Purchasers (and vendors) should therefore consider adding other conditions before signing an agreement.
The new agreement for sale and purchase coincides with the release of the New Zealand Law Society’s Property Transaction Guidelines, which were developed with the assistance of Julian Smith, from Greenwood Roche.
New Zealand takes its place on the global stage with its efforts to combat the effects of climate change. The Emissions Trading Scheme is at the centre of these efforts. Improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme were announced on 31 July 2019.
Climate change is arguably one of the most pressing threats to the planet. According to the United Nations, climate change “is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment”.
The Kyoto Protocol requires its members to monitor their actual greenhouse gas emissions and precise records of trades have to be kept. It has set the framework for numerous policy, legislative and environmental initiatives. New Zealand has the unique opportunity of playing its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through forestry. Forestry exports are worth around $5 billion a year and forestry directly employs approximately 20,000 people. It is a crucial part of our climate change response.
With that in mind, it is imperative that New Zealand implement a sufficient, robust and effective Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). On 31 July 2019, improvements to the ETS regulations were announced to reach that goal. An Amendment Bill to the Climate Change Response Act 2002 will be introduced to Parliament later this year. Four changes in this Amendment Bill are worth noting:
Greenwood Roche lawyers, Lauren Semple and Rachel Murdoch, have been working with Regenerate Christchurch on the development of the draft Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan which is the subject of this review case.
In response to a complaint, the Chief Ombudsman’s opinion confirms that Regenerate Christchurch acted lawfully and in an administratively reasonable manner in the development of the draft plan. The draft plan is currently with the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration for her approval or decline. For more information and to review the case note please click here.
On the 4th of July the New Zealand Productivity Commission released a draft report on Local Government Funding and Financing.
This report is the result of the Government’s request for the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into local government funding and financing; and where shortcomings in the current system are identified, to examine options and approaches for improving the system.
While there were a number of suggestions made, the draft report found the current framework is broadly sound. The Commission Chair stated “The current framework measures up well against the principles of a good funding and financing system for local government. It is clearly separated from the central government’s tax base which is an important feature. It is relatively simple and economically efficient. It also provides a high degree of flexibility for councils to shape how they raise their revenue.”
The report notes that councils can make better use of the tools they already have access to, and there is room to improve organisation performance, transparency and decision making that will help to relieve cost pressures. These existing tools include rates, fees are user charges, development contributions, central government funding and debt.
The Commission favours the “benefit principle” as the primary basis for deciding who should pay for local government services. Those who benefit from a service should pay for its costs. Additionally, where local services benefit national interests, central government should contribute. User charges or targeted rates should also be utilised.
The Commission found that there is no clear evidence that rates have become less affordable over time, despite this being one of the key reasons the inquiry was undertaken. Overall, rates have continued to broadly align with population and income growth over the past 3 decades, but have not become relatively more burdensome.
Cost pressures and new tools
The report noted some new tools are needed to help councils deal with some specific cost pressures. The highest priority pressures have been identified as:
As part of its broader focus on the construction and infrastructure sectors, the Government is proposing a bill which would establish a Crown entity tasked with providing strategic independent advice and oversight on the planning, co-ordination and delivery of public sector-led infrastructure projects in New Zealand.
The establishment of Te Waihanga – New Zealand Infrastructure Commission as a Crown entity is one of the more significant actions taken by the Government towards addressing the major infrastructure deficit in New Zealand, and the existing challenges with the planning, co-ordinating and delivery of infrastructure projects which have contributed to New Zealand’s current position. Taking lead from similar initiatives in Australia, the UK and elsewhere, the Commission will provide strategic oversight and leadership over the way in which infrastructure projects are planned, co-ordinated and procured. Critically, its functions are advisory only. Any decision-making regarding infrastructure projects (including investment in those projects, or the timing for or manner in which they are procured and delivered) will remain with the relevant Ministers/departments.
Under the bill, Te Waihanga would be established as an autonomous Crown entity, governed by a board of up to 7 members. The entity will largely take shape from the existing Infrastructure Transactions Unit currently within Treasury which will be incorporated into Te Waihanga once it is established (anticipated for October 2019).
The overarching function of the Commission is to co-ordinate, develop, and promote an approach to infrastructure and resulting services that improve the well-being of New Zealanders. The bill authorises the Commission to carry out that function through two main ways:1. Strategy and planning through:
b. Providing advice on infrastructure including the current state of infrastructure, current and future infrastructure needs, infrastructure priorities, and matters which may prevent the effective delivery of infrastructure.
a. Promoting a strategic and coordinated approach to the delivery of infrastructure projects;
c. Providing support services to those projects, including advice, services or staff to assist in the delivery of a project.
While not specifically included as a provision in the bill, the explanatory note identifies that Te Waihanga would be empowered to, and will be expected to, promote best practice infrastructure delivery as part of its supporting function. To that end, it is expected that the Commission will:
e. Publish a pipeline identifying existing and upcoming infrastructure projects (the first of these can be accessed on the Treasury website);
f. Produce best practice guidance on infrastructure procurement and delivery. This function will be part of its role as the “centre of expertise to assist infrastructure projects to be delivered efficiently and effectively”. To that end, where requested by the relevant department/Minister, the Commission will also provide advice on business cases for proposed projects.
In support of its functions (and in addition to its general powers as a Crown entity), the bill both grants powers to, and imposes obligations on, the Commission, including:
This proposal has generally received strong support and input from industry and experts within both the public and private sector, and represents a critical step towards a more informed, strategic and coherent approach to infrastructure planning, procurement and delivery. Perhaps the biggest potential shortcoming is the general lack of any strong levers which would at least encourage action/compliance by other government departments with the advice of the Commission. For example, while the Government would be required to issue a response to the Commission’s strategy reports, government departments are not obliged to consider the findings of the reports in reaching any decisions relating to procurement or planning of capital projects, nor consult with the Commission. Consequently, to successfully effect change at the decision making level, the Commission will need to build a narrative around the positive impacts of sound planning and procurement, and the role that it can play in supporting other departments in achieving those outcomes. Even if it is able to do so, there is still the risk that the Commission could be sidelined.
Among the options to mitigate this risk, there is the opportunity to expand the Commission’s mandate to include monitoring and reporting on the Government’s progress in addressing New Zealand’s infrastructure challenges. While under the current proposal it would be required to provide “state of the nation” assessments, there is no explicit directive to undertake on-going monitoring of how the Government is responding to the findings of the Commission’s assessments, including how it is addressing identified constraints on the effective delivery of infrastructure. Expanding the Commission’s mandate to include monitoring and reporting on the Government’s response to the identified challenges and opportunities (which would also, as a first step, require the development of some form of metric) would strengthen the Commission’s ability to keep the Government accountable for effecting improvements in the planning, procurement and delivery of infrastructure.
For further information on the Commission or if you are interested in receiving further updates on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Utilising the existing emissions trading scheme, the bill proposes the allocation of emissions budgets (issued every five years) designed to enable a “just and fair” transition of New Zealand’s industry and economy towards meeting the 2050 target. The target adopts a “split-gas” approach, where by 2050:
• Biogenic methane emissions will have reduced by 24 – 27% below 2017 levels. By 2030, they will have reduced by 10%.
• All other net greenhouse gas emissions will have reduced (through reductions, removals and offshore mitigation) to zero.
Under the bill, the relevant Minister must ensure that net emissions do not exceed the emissions budget for the relevant emissions budget period. Along with setting the budget, the Minister will also be required to prepare an emissions reduction plan which will set out the policies and strategies for meeting such a budget. There is however no legal remedy or relief available for failing to meet an emissions budget or for failing to meet the overall 2050 target, other than the issuing of a declaration and an award of costs. Similarly, meeting the emissions budgets and the 2050 targets are only permissive considerations for those exercising public functions. A failure to take a budget or the 2050 target into account will not invalidate the action. Consequently, as with the UK legislation, much of the success of this legislation will therefore rely on political and industry pressure to achieve compliance with the emissions budgets.
In addition to requiring the preparation of emissions budgets and ensuring that they (and as a result the 2050 target) are met, the bill would establish the Climate Change Commission. The Commission is an independent Crown entity tasked with both advising the Government on its emissions budgets and reductions and adaption plans, and monitoring and reporting on progress towards meeting emissions budgets and the 2050 targets. In particular, the Commission will be required to recommend the quantity of emissions permitted for each period, how the budget will be met including pricing and policy methods, and the indicated proportion of reductions, removals and offshore mitigation. While the Minister is not required to accept its advice or recommendations, the Minister is required to present the Commission’s reports to the House and issue a public response to that assessment. Critically, the bill is prescriptive in the skillsets required for the Commission which include expertise in climate science, matauranga Māori and Te Ao Māori, central and local government policy and decision making, and experience from a range of sectors and industries.
As mentioned, the bill anticipates that emissions budgets will be met through some combination of emissions removal (sequestration of some form), reduction and, in limited circumstances, offshore mitigation. Offshore mitigation would allow the purchase of emissions reductions and removals, or allows from international emissions trading schemes. While the use of offshore mitigation is generally discouraged under the bill, the ability to utilise that method provides some further flexibility to both industry and Government in seeking to meet the emissions budgets. Unlike the UK legislation, there is no mention of whether and how New Zealand’s contribution to international aviation and shipping emissions will be accounted for, though this may be a matter that is subject to consideration by the Commission once it is established.
Informed by extensive public consultation and a range of technical (including environmental and economic) analysis, the bill has of course already attracted a wide ranging response across different sectors. While applauding the framework for action, climate scientists and environmentalists have generally voiced concerns around the absence of enforcement/accountability for failing to meet targets. While similarly applauding the intent, other industries have voiced concerns over how realistic the targets are given the available technology.
From the analysis in support of the bill, it is clear that if the targets are to be reached then significant investment in innovative technologies to support industry towards more carbon neutral operations, and planting of trees (or use of other devices) that effectively sequester carbon will be critical. It is also clear that if the bill passes, there is a great deal of work ahead for particularly the Climate Change Commission in its role as an advisor to, and watchdog of, the Government in its response to the climate crisis. As has been illustrated by the UK Commission, critical success factors for this agency will be strong credibility and influence generated by well-rounded and in-depth expertise (including in policy making, business and industry), independence and transparency. Partnership with Māori at all levels of decision-making will also be vital.
There appears to be strong (albeit not complete) consensus across industry and political parties alike that taking action to reduce New Zealand’s carbon footprint is critical if we are to contribute to the global effort to slow the rate of our changing climate. How extensive that action is, how quickly it can be taken, and of course who pays for it remains to be seen. However this bill provides a strong framework for ambitious decisions to be made – ambitious decisions which will be required if the 2050 target is to be met. The (largely equivalent) UK legislation is highly regarded, having been replicated in a number of other countries. That Commission has been identified as having an excellent reputation, producing reports that carry “immense authority” and influence over Government.
Notwithstanding the absence of any obligation on other facets of Government to consider the Commission’s advice, it is clear that both the Commission and the Act itself has influenced policy development across sectors. Reports on the Act have also noted that the planning and reporting obligations on Government and the Commission have added value in “produc[ing] a kind of transparent dialogue that invites political accountability”. Moreover, as a result of the work undertaken by the Commission, Government and industry, the UK has met its first emissions budget and looks set to meet its second and third. It is however acknowledged that “low-hanging fruit” in the early years have made this task more straightforward, and more ambitious, controversial decisions are ahead if the UK is to continue its path of emissions reductions.
The Zero Carbon bill has a way to go before it passes, and we may well see some changes as it moves through the House. With National supporting the bill through its first reading earlier this week, it will now progress to select committee stage where the public will have the opportunity to share its views on the bill.
Our team is following this closely, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the bill. We have also prepared a more detailed summary of how the bill operates and we are more than happy to provide this to you and your team should you wish.
1. New Zealand Productivity Commission Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa Note: Examining the UK Climate Change Act – Research Note, Teresea Weeks, September 2017 at p.20.
2. Macroy, R. (2014). “The UK Climate Change Act – Towards a Brave New World? (2012)” in Regulation, enforcement and governance in environmental law (2ed), 261-274. Oxford: Hart Publishing, p 267
3. Church, J. (2016). Mind the Gap – Reviving the Climate Change Act. October 2016. London: ClientEarth, p.13.