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.
Brigid McArthur and Will Hulme-Moir have recently acted as independent counsel to the gas industry co-regulator, Gas Industry Company Limited, on approval of a new Gas Transmission Access Code.
The GTAC governs the terms of access to the high pressure North Island gas transmission pipeline systems owned by First Gas Limited, previously known as the Vector and Maui pipelines. Access to these pipelines has since the early 2000s been governed by separate industry codes. This separation has created operational inefficiencies particularly around capacity reservations, offtake management, gas balancing, reconciliation and liability for non‑specification gas, amongst others. With the pipelines now under common ownership has come the opportunity for a rationalisation and reset in accordance with the Gas Act objectives.
Gas Industry Co’s sanction of the new GTAC as “materially better” than the existing codes, comes after a lengthy period of engagement, consultation and extensive debate between different sectoral levels. The industry is presently engaged in IT systems and implementation processes.
Greenwood Roche advised L&M Energy on its acquisition of a 50% stake in the Waihapa Production Station and related petroleum producing and infrastructure assets. This was a joint acquisition with New Zealand Energy Corp.
Lauren Semple and Sam Hutchings recently assisted the Invercargill Licencing Trust in obtaining resource consent to construct a new 8 level, four and half star hotel on the corner of Dee and Don Streets in the heart of Invercargill City. The demolition and construction process now underway.
The new building has been designed by Warren and Mahoney and is a nod to the historic built fabric of the area, while providing for a new iconic and forward looking landmark to invite residents and visitors into the inner city.
Along with 80 guest suites, the development includes a restaurant, café, bars and a function room to create a thriving space for both guests and local residents alike to assist in the on-going rejuvenation of Invercargill, helping to achieve a key purpose of the Southland Regional Development Strategy.
Given the historic nature of the inner city, a key element of the project was ensuring that the overall heritage values of the previous corner building on the site were retained in the wider Invercargill. This was achieved through volunteered resource consent conditions, including the establishment of a public heritage fund to assist with the upkeep of other Invercargill heritage buildings. Also included was a condition that the new hotel name pays homage to the history of the site. A public competition is now underway to choose a name that reflects the heritage of the area. Entries can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or submitting entries via the Invercargill Licencing Trust facebook page.
Greenwood Roche is assisting Watercare with this significant project designed to ensure there is sufficient capacity in Watercare’s wastewater network to meet planned population growth and development in Auckland and prevent overflows into the waterways and harbours.
The Central Interceptor is a wastewater tunnel that will run between Western Springs and the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tunnel will run underground for 13 kilometres and will be at a depth of between 22 and 110 metres. Along the route it will connect to Watercare's existing wastewater network, which will divert flows and overflows into the tunnel.
Hadleigh Yonge is leading Greenwood Roche’s team which is advising Watercare on various aspects of this project, including providing strategic advice, negotiating and acquiring property rights, and advising on and dealing with issues relating to compensation.
The national electricity grid is owned by the State-owned enterprise, Transpower New Zealand, with lower voltage distribution lines owned by a range of locally and publicly owned entities.
Greenwood Roche advises Transpower on all property aspects relating to the national grid including the new 400kV-capable transmission line between Whakamaru, in south Waikato, and Auckland.
Transpower is currently constructing the new 220kV transmission line connecting Wairakei and Whakamaru, assisting with the development of renewable electricity generation around Taupo.
Greenwood Roche has acted for Transpower on the acquisition of property rights for this project. Our work has included the acquisition of easements, Maori land issues, advice on compulsory acquisition rights, emissions trading issues and compensation entitlements.
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.
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.
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.
Te Pae, meaning “a gathering place” in te reo Maori, is a highly anticipated anchor project being developed by Otakaro. It will be a world class convention and exhibition facility neighbouring Cathedral Square in the heart of Christchurch.
Greenwood Roche has assisted Otakaro with various property aspects relating to the Convention Centre.
Greenwood Roche assisted Christchurch City Council in launching and supporting the city’s recent environmentally-friendly transport initiatives intended to support sustainable multi-modal journeys, and complement and enhance the region’s existing public transport network.
The initiatives comprise the introduction of the shared electric car fleet with Yoogo, a proposed public bike share system, and Lime’s e-scooters.
Christchurch City Council has partnered with a range of leading public and private sector organisations with a view to promoting the physical health of its residents, reducing the negative impacts that traditional transport options have on the environment, and reducing the number of cars on Christchurch roads.
Greenwood Roche’s team, led by James Riddoch, worked with Christchurch City Council to prepare the legal framework to support these projects, including advising Council on procurement matters, negotiating the commercial terms with the suppliers, and advising Council in relation to the required permits to allow these businesses to operate in the city.
Greenwood Roche is assisting Watercare deliver an improved wastewater network to enable the development of the Redhills area.
Watercare is working with various interested parties to deliver improved wastewater services to enable the Redhills area to be extensively developed with the introduction of close to 10,000 residential properties.
Hadleigh Yonge is leading Greenwood Roche’s team which is advising Watercare on aspects of this project, including providing strategic advice, negotiating and acquiring property rights, and advising on and negotiating infrastructure funding agreements.
On 5 April 2019, the Minister for the Environment released the long awaited National Planning Standards as part of his keynote speech at the NZPI Conference. The standards were gazetted on 5 April 2019 and take effect on Friday 5 May 2019.
In our previous article we provided an overview of the draft National Planning Standards where we accepted that the principle of standardisation had merit but raised concerns about the practicalities of implementing a one sized fits all approach.
That view was shared by many submitters during the consultation period with a total of 201 submissions made on the draft standards (57 submissions were made by local authorities and 70 by business/industry). Of those submissions, two-thirds reportedly expressed support in principle or in part for the planning standards, however almost all submissions requested changes.
The resultant changes are significant and we think they will provide real assistance in implementation. Some challenges will of course remain as is to be expected in a procedural shift of this nature but overall we are hopeful the advantages of standardisation will outweigh the teething pains. Of course with implementation over an extended period, it will be some considerable time before a judgement on that matter can be made.
Read our full review here - https://app.box.com/s/8678u515gbxxt0vq5luby3rg1pa0lccp
A seismic event in NZ’s property market occurred in November last year. More like a slow slip quake than a sudden jolt, the November 2018 update to the guidelines for seismic assessment of existing buildings went largely unnoticed by many in the property industry. The effects, however, are now beginning to be felt, with the recent closure of Wellington Central Library and the assessment of its floors at just 20%NBS being one of the first publicly visible signs.
To appreciate what has happened and where this will lead, it’s helpful to first understand the legal and engineering framework within which seismic assessments of buildings are made. The starting point here is the guidelines for The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings (Guidelines), which detail the technical basis on which engineers carry out seismic assessments of existing buildings. In basic terms, the Guidelines govern how seismic engineers review a building to arrive at a robust assessment of its “%NBS” – the all important percentage of the “new building standard” that an existing building achieves.
This process and the outcomes are hugely important because a %NBS rating (almost universally misunderstood by property advisors and lawyers alike) has become a proxy for seismic safety. As a result, %NBS underpins acquisition, development and leasing decisions and is a key consideration for many Crown agencies and corporates in their property strategies and health and safety assessments. The Guidelines also form part of the EPB (earthquake prone building) methodology produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, by which territorial authorities are required to identify earthquake-prone buildings.
When version 1 of the Guidelines was first released in July 2017 (superseding guidance from 2006), it was seen as a significant step forward. The Guidelines were an extensive revision by industry experts of earlier thinking and incorporated a wealth of research, knowledge and experience obtained from the significant New Zealand earthquakes between 2010 and 2016 – a period which included the Christchurch, Seddon and Kaikoura earthquakes. As such, and with one critical exception, the Guidelines represented the latest understandings on the seismic behaviour of existing buildings.
That one critical exception was Section C5 of the Guidelines, a section governing the detailed seismic assessments of concrete buildings. With the timing of the general release of the Guidelines in mid-2017, it simply wasn’t possible to include new guidance on a range of matters, including assessing precast concrete floor systems to take account of new knowledge from the Kaikoura earthquake, and to respond to recommendations made in the Statistics House investigation. However, this was remedied in November 2018 with the release of a new Section C5 (version 1A), and the slow slip quake in the market began.
The revisions to Section C5 are numerous, with changes addressing: material strength, “single crack” scenarios in concrete members, deformation limits due to buckling of walls and columns, limiting conditions leading to the loss of gravity support in columns, slab-column connections and walls, and strength degradation for lightly reinforced joints. None of that appears particularly reassuring to the untrained eye but, more significantly, there is also a complete revision of the guidance detailing the assessment of precast concrete floors – that is, precast concrete hollow-core, double-tee, rib and infill, and flat slab floor units, all of which have been relatively common methods of floor construction since the 1980s.
In relation to precast floors, the new Appendix C5E records in unemotive engineering prose that, in an earthquake, it is possible for “unseating” of precast floors to occur (that is, precast floors may fall off their supporting ledges within the building frame) and that precast floors can be particularly susceptible to damage that has the effect of “compromising gravity load support” (that is, precast floors may collapse). Appendix C5E goes on to state that “For buildings with older support detailing, the limiting drift at failure of the precast floors is likely to be less than the limiting drift for the frame and may govern the earthquake rating for the building as a whole.” Translated, this means that precast floors may fail before the building frame itself and, if that is the case for your building, then its %NBS will diminish to that earlier point of failure.
While the devil is very much in the engineering detail, the practical effect of the changes to Section C5 of the Guidelines is that the %NBS of many relatively new buildings with precast floors is likely to fall. There are many such buildings in New Zealand but, of the larger centres, Wellington, Napier, Hastings and Palmerston North are likely to be disproportionately affected due to their higher “Z-values”, being the seismic risk factors applicable to those regions.
How much lower the %NBS numbers will go is, of course, a key issue, as is whether buildings remain safe. These assessments in turn depend on a range of factors relating to a particular building, including the type of floor and the flexibility of the building frame. You will need an engineer to tell you but, for some buildings, the %NBS drop may be significant. While it hasn’t been highlighted in reporting to date, Aurecon New Zealand Limited’s assessment of Wellington Central Library, is “that the hollowcore precast floor system… achieves a score of 20%NBS” – this for a building that opened in 1991.
Of course, not all buildings will be affected like Wellington Central Library and, for some buildings, a small %NBS decrease may not be material. However, for owners, tenants, funders and insurers of a 70%NBS structure, a 15-20% drop may well have major ramifications. Where a change in %NBS crosses a critical threshold for a party, their options will, as ever, be constrained by their existing contracts and the availability of alternatives.
Weaknesses in leasing documents will also be exposed. The standard ADLS deed of lease, for example, does not address seismic standards and a number of leases with negotiated seismic covenants require there to be an earthquake of a minimum magnitude before the tenant can even access rights related to the %NBS of the building. Neither position is advisable. However, even where a tenant has a contractual escape route, its options will be practically limited by the availability of alternative premises and business continuity requirements.
A further issue is how or whether affected parties will even know that the %NBS of the building has fallen. In the absence of an earthquake, few tenants will have cause to consider the accuracy of historical seismic reports. The statutory framework also provides little comfort; while territorial authorities are tasked with identifying potentially earthquake prone buildings, these are only buildings below 34%NBS and, even then, for at least an interim period of 18-24 months, those “EPB” assessments must continue to be made using the old Section C5 of the Guidelines. This means that for earthquake prone building purposes there may well be “false negatives” – i.e. %NBS ratings above those supported by the latest engineering knowledge. Beyond the earthquake prone building framework, there is generally no incentive or legal requirement for landlords to seek assessments that may indicate things have changed for the worse, or to disclose these if they are obtained.
Even less likely is that owners, outside local or central government, will close their buildings and, other than in the most extreme cases, there is no legal requirement for them to do so. In the case of Wellington Central Library, where engineers identified that “the potential loss of seating of the hollowcore units presents a significant hazard and potential risk to building occupants following a significant earthquake event”. Mayor Justin Lester observed that "We're not legally obliged to close this building, we are morally obliged”. Not all building owners will see it the same way.
Those concerned about their buildings should seek information from engineers and owners and take engineering and, potentially, legal advice. Next steps can then be informed by reference to assessed risk, existing contractual positions and organisational health and safety policies and obligations.
Doran Wyatt is a Partner with expertise in seismic matters, leasing and developments. He acts for a range of Crown agencies and institutional investors and is based in Greenwood Roche’s Wellington office. The content in this article is not legal advice. Our team would be happy to assist with any specific issues.
Lauren Semple, who leads our Resource Management Team presented at the Property Council Residential Development Summit in February 2019.
Some philosophical issues to sort out with an Urban Development Authority model based on our experiences in Christchurch. If coming to the end of the use of such powers in Christchurch is seen as a “return to local leadership” does it follow that the use of such powers in the first place is an affront to local democracy? And how does that fit with the intention to deliver national UDA legislation. Good conversation starter. Want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Semple or our Resource Management team.
Lauren Semple presented a paper as part of the NZCLE Workshop on Subdivisions. This paper considers the wider context of subdivision and land development and reflects on some of the tools, requirements and alternative processes which can influence the way projects take shape.
It first looks at a number of the alternative legislative schemes set up in recent years to fast track development (including subdivision), and considers some of the lessons from these examples which may usefully inform future legislation including the much touted but not yet here urban development authority approach. It touches on the role of, and tools available to, local authorities under the Local Government Act in relation to subdivisions, including the use of development contributions and development agreements to service growth and asks whether our preoccupation with new tools might prevent us from effectively utilising the tools we already have.
Download the paper here - https://app.box.com/s/58174muot1x5y7b53t8imgxd4d5l5frd
For the past two years, we have been advising Regenerate Christchurch on the development of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan.
The Draft Plan was released for consultation on 14 November 2018 with submissions due by 5pm on 19 December 2018. You can find a copy of the draft plan here - http://engage.regeneratechristchurch.nz/accessible-draft-oarc-regeneration-plan-homepage
We are pleased to continue to support the Property Council New Zealand Wellington Property People Awards which recognise and celebrate excellence in property in Wellington.
Wellington Partner, Doran Wyatt had the honour of presenting the Greenwood Roche Supreme Award as part of the event on 11 October 2018.
Congratulations to McKee Fehl Constructors Ltd, this year’s winner of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Award, for the Press Hall 80 Willis Street / 22 Boulcott Street project.
What stood out for the judges was the ability of McKee Fehl to repurpose and modernise the Press Hall site. The end result is an iconic development that adds vibrancy to Wellington but also respects the heritage of the original building.
The testimonials for this project summed it up: