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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.

Recent Projects

Projects

Faringdon Oval – Fast-track Consent Granted

On 26 July 2023 an expert consenting panel granted Hughes Developments Limited’s Faringdon Oval...

Faringdon Oval – Fast-track Consent Granted

Recent Projects

Faringdon Oval – Fast-track Consent Granted

Faringdon Oval – Fast-track Consent Granted

On 26 July 2023 an expert consenting panel granted Hughes Developments Limited’s Faringdon Oval application under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020.


Faringdon Oval is a 69.3ha extension of the existing, well established Faringdon community in Rolleston, which has developed over the last decade under the Operative Selwyn District Plan, the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013, and more recently, the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Act 2020. 

The Fast Track consent for Faringdon Oval authorises the subdivision, land use and associated activities needed to facilitate the addition of 684 residential units to the Rolleston housing supply with an additional 462 residential units to be enabled through super lots with minimum density requirements. The development will support a range of residential housing types and densities, high quality landscaping, open space reserves, a neighbourhood centre and a network of transport links to existing residential areas and the Rolleston town centre.

Greenwood Roche is delighted to have assisted HDL in delivering a development that will contribute significant housing supply in such a strategic location for the wider Canterbury region.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 1 Enabling Works – Variation Granted

On 28 July 2023 the Dunedin City Council granted a variation to the conditions of the previously...

New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 1 Enabling Works – Variation Granted

Recent Projects

New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 1 Enabling Works – Variation Granted

New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 1 Enabling Works – Variation Granted

On 28 July 2023 the Dunedin City Council granted a variation to the conditions of the previously consented enabling works for the New Dunedin Hospital. 


The variation provides for changes in the location and footprint of the proposed Inpatient Building which will be housed on the old Cadbury factory site. The variation also accommodates a new plant building between the Inpatient Building and the southern site boundary, and technical construction related changes such as updated pile designs and driving methodology for the Inpatient Building and its two link bridges.

Enabling works for the Outpatient Building are complete and above-ground construction has begun with a target ‘go-live’ date of 2025. Enabling works are underway for the significantly larger Inpatient Building which is scheduled to ‘go-live’ in 2029.  The resource consent application to authorise the above-ground construction and operation of the Inpatient Building has now been lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority for referral to an expert consenting panel under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020.  Subject to securing all necessary approvals, construction of that Building is scheduled to begin in Q1 2024.

The Greenwood Roche team has been advising Te Whatu Ora on the resource management and property aspects of the New Dunedin Hospital project since 2017. 


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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PC 59 (Private) – Albany 10 Precinct

Greenwood Roche recently acted for Bei Group Limited on Plan Change 59: Albany 10 Precinct to the...

Recent Projects

PC 59 (Private) – Albany 10 Precinct

PC 59 (Private) – Albany 10 Precinct

Greenwood Roche recently acted for Bei Group Limited on Plan Change 59: Albany 10 Precinct to the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part), securing appropriate zoning and plan provisions to develop a comprehensive residential development, which will enable 1,800 dwellings in buildings up to ten storeys on part of the old Massey Campus, near the Albany town centre.  


We advised Bei Group through the initial application, including notification and hearing phases and, following approval of the plan change, an appeal by Kristin School to the Environment Court largely in respect of transport matters.  Concurrently, Greenwood Roche provided advice on conflicts between Auckland Council’s Plan Change 78 (Intensification Planning Instruments required by the National Policy Statement Urban Development) and proposed Variation 3 to the Auckland Unitary Plan.  Ultimately Variation 3 was withdrawn by the Council and the appeal was resolved.  On 9 December 2022, Auckland Council’s planning committee approved the operative status of the Plan Change, with formal notification to follow in early 2023.

Bei Group Limited can now progress its vision for its 13.7ha site at 473 Albany Highway - to create a vibrant, diverse and high-quality residential neighbourhood, with a range of housing typologies that will be supported by a new internal street network, quality public open space and a commercial hub to service resident demand.  Greenwood Roche is delighted with this outcome and is looking forward to watching this exemplar development come to life. 


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Consent granted for 76-lot residential subdivision in Kamo, Northland

Greenwood Roche has advised Hurupaki Holdings Limited through a Council hearing process, and an...

Recent Projects

Consent granted for 76-lot residential subdivision in Kamo, Northland

Consent granted for 76-lot residential subdivision in Kamo, Northland

Greenwood Roche has advised Hurupaki Holdings Limited through a Council hearing process, and an Environment Court appeal, to successfully obtain resource consent for a non-complying subdivision creating 76 residential allotments (including associated infrastructure and earthworks), a local café, a recreational reserve and playground, located on the fringe of Kamo in Northland.  


As part of its masterplan the applicant proposed a suite of positive benefits that would reduce effects of the subdivision on the environment and improve overall amenity for the wider community.  This included extensive replanting, restoration and enhancement of two natural areas - the Hurupaki Cone – which holds particular significance as an Outstanding Natural Feature and an Outstanding Natural Landform – and the Waitaua Stream.

The reporting team on behalf of Whangārei District Council recommended that the application be declined as it did not achieve a “net environmental benefit” as required by the relevant objectives and policies of the operative plan.  The application was nevertheless granted by an Independent Commissioner who concluded that overall effects are likely to be minor and that, if consent was refused, then less acceptable outcomes would likely eventuate.  An appeal to the Environment Court was made in respect of conditions; however these were ultimately resolved by agreement, with the Court’s final consent determination recently issued under urgency.


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Development Agreement and Lease for over 14,000 sqm of space at a new Beca House at Wynyard Quarter

As a long-standing legal provider for Beca, Greenwood Roche recently led negotiations between Beca...

Recent Projects


Development Agreement and Lease for over 14,000 sqm of space at a new Beca House at Wynyard Quarter

As a long-standing legal provider for Beca, Greenwood Roche recently led negotiations between Beca and Precinct Properties for the relocation of Beca House (Beca’s Auckland Office and Global Headquarters) to a new 14,000m² office premises as the anchor tenant in Precinct Properties’ latest development at 126 Halsey Street, Wynyard Quarter. 


These negotiations continued our involvement in the project, working alongside Beca and Colliers to develop a market engagement strategy and assessing options that helped secure a better, faster and more efficient transaction. 

Don Lyon, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer at Beca: “[The team at Greenwood Roche was] practical, collaborative and constructive, which on a complex deal with short timeframes, assisted greatly to reach agreement, on terms acceptable to its Board. Greenwood Roche were instrumental in developing a robust commercial strategy, then helping us negotiate a comprehensive and detailed Heads of Terms, that enabled us to discuss and resolve all major issues with the prospective landlord at the earliest possible time, giving confidence to our Board and significantly accelerating subsequent negotiations, once we progressed to a full Development Agreement, Agreement to Lease and Lease.”

A key focus for both Beca and Precinct was the performance of the building, including sustainability initiatives.  The new building is designed to achieve a 6-star Green Star rating and a 5-star NABERSNZ rating.  

The Greenwood Roche team was led by Barry Walker (Partner), Michael Bennett (Associate) and Ben Petersen (Lawyer), with specialist input from others within the firm. 

The transaction was concluded swiftly and maintained programme for the project thanks to the collective efforts of Beca, Greenwood Roche, Colliers, Precinct Properties and Russell McVeagh.  


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Plan Change 5 – Re-zoning of former Paeroa Racecourse

Greenwood Roche has successfully assisted WFT Finance & Investment Company Limited, directed by Mr...

Plan Change 5 – Re-zoning of former Paeroa Racecourse

Recent Projects

Plan Change 5 – Re-zoning of former Paeroa Racecourse

Plan Change 5 – Re-zoning of former Paeroa Racecourse

Greenwood Roche has successfully assisted WFT Finance & Investment Company Limited, directed by Mr Wayne Wright and Mrs Chloe Wright, to secure a private plan change to the Hauraki District Plan to rezone the 33 hectare former Paeroa Racecourse site and approve a Structure Plan to facilitate a mix of residential, commercial and open space development at the site.   


Plan Change 5 was approved by the Hauraki District Council following a public notification and hearings process.  Development of the site in accordance with the approved zoning and Structure Plan provisions will enable approximately 240 residential lots of various sizes to be provided, and a new chapel and associated commercial and visitor accommodation offerings to be developed.  Development of the site will contribute meaningfully to Paeroa’s housing stock and to attract tourism to the Paeroa area. On-site amenity for future residents, public open spaces, adaptation of existing racecourse buildings on the site, and community activities and facilities will also be provided. 


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 2 Outpatient Building – Fast Track Consent Granted

On 17 August 2022 the Minster of Health was granted resource consent under the COVID-19 Recovery...

Recent Projects


New Dunedin Hospital – Stage 2 Outpatient Building – Fast Track Consent Granted

On 17 August 2022 the Minster of Health was granted resource consent under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 for the above-ground construction works and subsequent operation of the new Outpatient building at Dunedin Hospital.  


Resource consent for the stage 1 foundation works was granted on 23 December 2021, and the granting of this subsequent consent will enable the establishment of the new Outpatient building, the first of the two new clinical buildings that will comprise the New Dunedin Hospital.

Housing a range of consultation and treatment spaces, day surgery facilities, and procedure and diagnostic services, works on the Outpatient building are anticipated to commence in early October 2022.  Utilising the fast track consenting legislation has enabled the development to stay on track despite the challenges of the last two years.

A team from Greenwood Roche, led by Lauren Semple and Julian Smith, are advising on all consenting and property matters relating to the New Dunedin Hospital.  


Specialist expertise

Key lawyers involved

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Parnell Retirement Village

Greenwood Roche has successfully assisted Summerset Villages (Parnell) Limited to obtain resource...

Parnell Retirement Village

Recent Projects

Parnell Retirement Village

Parnell Retirement Village

Greenwood Roche has successfully assisted Summerset Villages (Parnell) Limited to obtain resource consent for its latest flagship retirement village in Parnell, Auckland.  


The village will comprise eight interconnected buildings, ranging from three to eight storeys in height, containing 316 independent living units, serviced units and care / dementia rooms adjacent to the Parnell Train Station and at the foot of Auckland Domain.   

Greenwood Roche worked with the wider project team to develop the proposal for a retirement village at the Parnell site over a number of years and subsequently acted for Summerset Villages (Parnell) Limited through the application, public notification and hearings process, with consent being granted by the Council in May 2021.  Residential neighbours of the proposed village then appealed to the Environment Court against the Council’s decision to grant consent, seeking extensive changes to the village design and to conditions of consent relating to the lengthy construction period.  Through alternative dispute resolution processes, Greenwood Roche successfully negotiated with the appellant and other interested parties to resolve the appeal and a consent order was issued by the Environment Court in August 2022, enabling the development to proceed. 


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Key lawyers involved

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News & Insights

Insights

Greenwood Roche Panel Event - Connecting Construction: Project Challenges and Opportunities for 2023

Greenwood Roche is thrilled to have welcomed key property and construction industry participants to...

Greenwood Roche Panel Event - Connecting Construction: Project Challenges and Opportunities for 2023

News & Insights

Greenwood Roche Panel Event - Connecting Construction: Project Challenges and Opportunities for 2023

Greenwood Roche Panel Event - Connecting Construction: Project Challenges and Opportunities for 2023

Greenwood Roche is thrilled to have welcomed key property and construction industry participants to our new Auckland home in the Hayman Kronfeld Building for our inaugural Connecting Construction Panel event: Project Challenges and Opportunities for 2023, moderated by construction partner, Amy Rutherford.  The event took place on the 26th of April and was a great success, and we're grateful to all the panellists and audience members who took the time to share their insights and expertise on the evening.


We were lucky enough to have a diverse range of perspectives represented, and the discussion was both informative and thought-provoking. We learned a lot about the upcoming challenges and opportunities that all parts of the industry see ahead in the coming year and beyond, and how different parts of the sector are reacting and preparing. We look forward to continuing the conversation with them and our wider community. Stay tuned for articles and other content that will follow on from our discussion – we believe that the insights shared at the event will be valuable to anyone working in the property and construction sector.

Finally, thank you to all of our panellists, Sharon Zollner - Chief Economist at ANZ New Zealand, Patrick Dougherty - General Manager (Construction & Innovation) at Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities, Ralph Simpson - General Counsel (Disputes & Commercial) at Fletcher Building,  Jeremy Hay- Managing Director at RCP, and Tamati Parker - Director at C3 Construction.


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Balancing Competition and Corporate Strategy in the Realm of Restrictive Land Covenants: Commerce Commission v NGB Properties Limited [2023] NZHC 2005

The High Court ruling in Commerce Commission v NGB Properties Limited [2023] NZHC 2005 has brought...

News & Insights


Balancing Competition and Corporate Strategy in the Realm of Restrictive Land Covenants: Commerce Commission v NGB Properties Limited [2023] NZHC 2005

The High Court ruling in Commerce Commission v NGB Properties Limited [2023] NZHC 2005 has brought land covenants to the forefront of New Zealand’s commercial landscape.  This landmark case has significant implications for what has, up until now, been a reasonably common use of land covenants, and sheds light on the interplay between competition law and property rights.


Case Summary

The case involved two adjoining properties.  Bunnings Limited (Bunnings) owned one of the properties (Gilmore Site).  While the Gilmore Site was big enough for a Bunnings home improvement store, it fell short of the size required for a Bunnings Warehouse.  To establish a Bunnings Warehouse and to effectively compete with the Mitre 10 MEGA store, situated a mere 500 metres from the Gilmore Site, Bunnings would have needed to acquire the property adjoining the Gilmore Site.

To prevent this, NGB Properties Limited (NGB), a company related to the owner of the Tauranga Mitre 10 MEGA, acquired the property adjoining the Gilmore Site.  NGB then proceeded to further protect its interests by registering on the title an encumbrance containing a land covenant.

This covenant included a statement which provided that the owner of the land would not use any portion of the property for the purpose of carrying out the business of a hardware and home improvement retail store.

The Commerce Commission (Commission) received a complaint about NGB’s acquisition of the property adjoining the Gilmore Site and registration of the encumbrance against the title, and opened an investigation.

Following the Commission’s investigation, NGB accepted that the covenant contained in the encumbrance had the purpose of substantially lessening competition in the relevant market.  Accordingly, NGB acknowledged that it had breached section 28 of the Commerce Act 1986 (Act).  Section 28 prohibits the requiring, giving, carrying out, or enforcing of a covenant that has the purpose, effect, or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

When considering the appropriate penalty, Cooke J noted that, as the encumbrance was registered to impede Bunnings and other potential competitors from competing with the nearby Mitre 10 MEGA, it was important to impose a penalty that would serve as an effective deterrent to others.

Cooke J determined that, as no actual commercial gain arose from the offending, the maximum penalty imposable was $10 million.  He then considered the following mitigating factors / factors which lessened the seriousness of the offending, before accepting the parties’ proposed penalty of $500,000:

  • Section 28(4) of the Act rendered the encumbrance unenforceable as its purpose was to substantially lessen competition.  Although accepting the Commission’s argument that removing the encumbrance would be costly and not necessarily straightforward, Cooke J determined that this ability to apply for removal must reduce the significance of the breach.
  • NGB was unaware that the encumbrance was unlawful.  Although Cooke J acknowledged that a significant penalty should be imposed to bring light to the illegitimacy of such conduct, he took the view that NGB’s ignorance made the offending less serious.
  • As NGB removed the encumbrance as soon as it became aware of its breach, and as it sold the property without the covenant, it did not benefit from the covenant nor did any anti-competitive effect arise from it. 
  • NGB co-operated with the Commission, was a first-time offender, and took steps to address its breach (by removing the encumbrance and selling the property).

Significance

This case is important in the context of managing competitive behaviour.  Not only does it mark the first instance where the court has imposed a penalty for a breach of section 28 of the Act but, coupled with the following recent developments, it also sends a clear signal that there has been a tightening of competitive levers within the retail sector: 

  • the recent enactment of the Commerce (Grocery Sector Covenants) Amendment Act 2022 (amending the Commerce Act), which outlaws land covenants and exclusive lease covenants in the retail grocery sector;
  • the Commission’s recent market studies into the retail fuel market, the competition for residential building supplies, and the retail grocery market; and
  • the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s recent public consultation into the effects of anti-competitive land covenants (which was initiated following the Commission recommending an economy-wide review of, among other things, the use of land covenants).

Key Takeaways

Landowners should be careful when considering the use of land covenants (whether registered in covenant instruments, leases or encumbrance instruments).  Whilst land covenants will still have their place (e.g. for maintaining aesthetic similarities within in a subdivision), landowners should now, more than ever, bear in mind the fact that they cannot be used for the purpose of substantially lessening competition. 

What will be considered as “substantially lessening competition” will of course depend on the particular circumstances of each case.  As a starting point, the following points have been noted by the Commission in March 2023 guidance as being more likely to cause a substantial effect on competition: 

  • if the land covenant has a broader scope and/or a longer duration;
  • if the land covenant has the effect of strengthening or reinforcing barriers to entry or expansion by competitors; and
  • if the existing competition in the relevant market is already limited.

Seek Legal Advice

If you have any concerns over the potential anti-competitive effect of a land covenant, whether on your property or someone else’s, we would be pleased to advise. 


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Client Update - March 2023

It’s been a busy start to the year for the Greenwood Roche team and we are excited to share a few...

Client Update - March 2023

News & Insights


Client Update - March 2023

It’s been a busy start to the year for the Greenwood Roche team and we are excited to share a few pieces of news, which reflect our position as New Zealand’s leading national projects law firm.

Since we opened our first office in 2005, our team has expanded to include more than 50 lawyers led by 16 partners across our three hubs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

This update is an opportunity to share with you some of the growing successes and developments of our team, reflecting the commitment to our clients we all share.


Lauren Semple appointed to the Environment Court bench (Christchurch)

It’s unusual for the departure of a senior colleague to be a positive event, but in this case, we’re delighted.

On 27 February Partner Lauren Semple’s appointment to the bench of the Environment Court was formally confirmed and she will don her robes from 24 March, sitting in Wellington.

Lauren has been an invaluable part of our team since we established our Christchurch office a decade ago where, as part of our successful Planning and Environment team, Lauren was a leading legal advisor involved with the Christchurch rebuild.  In that regard her work involved a number of key projects for the city, including development of the Central City Recovery Plan (“the Blueprint”), consenting the rebuild of both Christchurch and Burwood Hospitals, the temporary Stadium, the Justice and Emergency Precinct and delivering the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan.  Recently, Lauren has been leading the consenting of the new Dunedin Hospital, advising the Crown on renewable energy generation options and utilising the Covid-Fast Track legislation to develop increased residential housing options throughout greater Christchurch. 

Since Lauren’s arrival in 2012, our Planning and Environment specialty has expanded north and grown rapidly. We now have a national team of nine, spread across all three offices and forming a crucial part of our project offering. The team will continue to be led by Partner Francelle Lupis who joined us in our Auckland office in 2016.

Lauren’s appointment is a well-deserved recognition of Lauren’s qualities, the projects she has enabled, and the regard with which she is held within the sector – as well the strength and standing of our Planning and Environment team.  Lauren leaves with the full support of the entire team at Greenwood Roche and the immense gratitude of the Partners for her work here.

Rachel Murdoch named Property Council Young Achiever of the Year (Christchurch)

Christchurch-based Senior Associate Rachel Murdoch was recently awarded the Property Council of New Zealand Young Achiever of the Year Award for 2022.

This award recognises her crucial role in a range of significant projects across the country, including the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan, Te Kaha multi-use arena and the Christchurch Cathedral, the new Dunedin Hospital and a number of significant Covid-Fast Track developments. 

In addition to Planning and Environment, the Christchurch office has grown to include Real Estate and Construction practices, forming part of our national teams in those disciplines.

Nick Dunn appointed Partner (Wellington)

Wellington-based Principal Nick Dunn will join the partnership effective from 1 April 2023 (subject to Law Society requirements). Nick’s promotion was announced internally in September 2022, and we are pleased to now share the news more widely.

Nick joined Greenwood Roche in 2006 and re-joined us in 2013, after a brief stint overseas in Seoul, and is admired and respected in equal measure by staff and clients alike.

He has earned a reputation as a trouble-shooter and deal facilitator with a focus on public sector clients, but has also developed a strong market presence in the renewable energy sector. His main focus in recent years has been large-scale housing development projects.

Nick’s appointment to Partner is the latest in a long line of internal promotions, and highlights not only the continuity and relationship-based service we offer our clients, but also the strong supportive culture within our firm. Nick will be a great addition to our Real Estate team, which extends to 11 Partners nationally. 

His new role will strengthen our Wellington team, which will have nine Partners, and means we are better placed than ever to service our diverse range of clients, while also continuing to ensure our unique culture thrives.

New Year, stunning new offices (Auckland)

Finally, to support the continued growth and development of the Auckland team.  We very recently moved into the stunning Hayman Kronfeld Building in Britomart - a heritage refurbishment designed by Peddlethorp Architects.

It has been almost 10 years since Greenwood Roche first opened our Auckland office and the team jumped at the chance to relocate to this exciting new space within the latest Cooper & Co development.  Originally two warehouses, the heritage buildings have undergone a significant renovation to become an integrated 5-Green Star office.

For us, the unique space represents how Greenwood Roche continues to stand out from the pack, doing things a little differently and creating a space that can be the hub of our culture despite the plethora of flexible working options available.  The larger premises sees the team switch to open-plan working within pods, consistent with our other hubs. It also includes much greater meeting room capacity and features a variety of interesting and bespoke spaces for staff and clients to enjoy alongside our own roof terrace.

We look forward to hosting clients as soon as the final stages of the new interior are ready.

Outlook for 2023

While obvious economic headwinds and political uncertainty seem likely to make 2023 an interesting time to be in the real estate and projects business, we believe that there are still good untapped opportunities and projects there for those who are well connected and innovative - as well as in emerging sectors.

Given that backdrop, we are determined to continue to operate as a genuine participant in our sectors and to continue to innovate to help our clients make the most of opportunities that come their way.

For us that means continuing to focus on identifying and generating opportunities for our clients, not just waiting for the phone to ring, and thinking laterally to help position clients for the challenges of the year ahead.  

We will also continue to leverage our large senior team and commercial focus to facilitate transactions and convert opportunities quickly for clients, given the wider uncertainty in the market. 

This year will also see us continue to invest behind the scenes in broader outcomes initiatives. Clients will hear more from us about our exciting activity in this area as we seek to increase our work and expand our impact in this space.


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Greenwood Roche on the Natural and Built Environment and Spatial Planning Bills

Our resource management team have provided their thoughts on the proposed Natural and Built...

News & Insights


Greenwood Roche on the Natural and Built Environment and Spatial Planning Bills

Our resource management team have provided their thoughts on the proposed Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill, which are proposed to repeal and replace the Resource Management Act 1991.  Have a read here and get in touch with one of the team if you have any questions or would like some assistance making a submission on these important Bills (due 5 February 2023). 



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Malcolm Gillies announced as the recipient of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Excellence Award, at Wellington Property Peoples Awards

Greenwood Roche would like to congratulate Malcolm Gillies who was named the recipient of the...

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Malcolm Gillies announced as the recipient of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Excellence Award, at Wellington Property Peoples Awards

Malcolm Gillies announced as the recipient of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Excellence Award, at Wellington Property Peoples Awards

Greenwood Roche would like to congratulate Malcolm Gillies who was named the recipient of the highest accolade, the Greenwood Roche Supreme Excellence Award, at this year’s recent Property Council - Wellington Property Peoples Awards staged at Te Papa.


Malcolm, a pioneering property developer, has created a long list of high-profile developments including the soon-to-be completed NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Heretaunga – one of the most advanced training and research facilities in the world. Malcolm, the managing director of Gillies Group, has also created residential developments including Riverstone Terraces, Wallaceville Estate and Plimmerton Farm, and industrial and commercial precincts such as the South Pacific Industrial Park. 

The judging panel praised Malcolm for driving change in both residential and leisure property sectors in a region that is not only his work base but also where he calls home. They felt Malcolm had created a focal point and increased the desirability of Upper Hutt through his vision and work. That he achieved this and was well-regarded in the industry and well-liked by his team made him a stand-out leader and a fitting recipient of the Greenwood Roche Supreme Excellence award.

We would like to extend our congratulations to all other award recipients and nominees from the evening.

Thank you to the team at Property Council New Zealand for organising the event and celebrating industry success.

Greenwood Roche looks forward to continuing our long association with the Awards in 2023.

Property council 2Property council 3


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Name and Shame: the Business Payment Practices Bill

Minister Nash’s Business Payment Practices Bill has just had its first reading in Parliament, and...

Name and Shame: the Business Payment Practices Bill

News & Insights

Name and Shame: the Business Payment Practices Bill

Name and Shame: the Business Payment Practices Bill

Minister Nash’s Business Payment Practices Bill has just had its first reading in Parliament, and is open for public submissions until 26 February 2023.


The Bill is aimed at bringing transparency to business-to-business payment terms and practices in New Zealand, based on feedback from small businesses that late payments and lengthy payment terms harm their business.  As the Explanatory Note sagely points out, this can lead to cash flow problems, temporary borrowing and, even, insolvency.  When one considers how little many smaller businesses have to come and go on to even out the ebbs and flows, this is rather an understatement.

The sincerity of the Bill’s purpose statement is laudable:  With this new public disclosure of payment practices information, members of the public and other entities will thus be equipped to to make an informed choice about whether to engage with certain large entities.

Despite all this, at the same time the Bill is openly honest in another stated aim of “supporting the Government to determine if there is a broader problem with extended payment terms” at all, such that regulatory intervention is warranted.

The Bill requires “large entities” (not just companies) with more than $33 million in annual revenue (including GST) for 2 or more consecutive accounting periods to file, twice yearly, a payment practices return with the newly created Registrar of Business Payment Practices.  This return must cover invoices received or paid, the time taken to pay, the proportion of invoices paid in full plus other information relating to payment practices and policies, yet to be specified in regulations.  The data will be published on a publicly searchable register maintained by MBIE.

Importantly, it seems, the filed return must include a statement that a director is satisfied the information in it is complete and accurate.  Presumably if a director has turned their mind to it, the information should be reliable and directors will be incentivised to request change if the information paints their business in a bad light.

The Bill relies on large entities valuing their reputation sufficiently that they alter their payment practices to something, presumably, fairer.  There are no other substantive sanctions short of not filing a return.

Talking of fairness, why could the unfair contracts provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1986 not have been relied on to deal with this potential problem?  And why, in these difficult economic times, did Parliament need to spend valuable time legislating for something that is neither established to be a problem and could in any event have been dealt with through non-legislative means?

If you need any assistance in making a submission, in support or otherwise, please contact a member of our commercial team.

November 2022


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The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act 2022

The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act 2022 (OIA Amendment Act) is now in force.

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The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act 2022

The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Act 2022 (OIA Amendment Act) is now in force.


The increasing financial attraction of forestry activities and accumulation of carbon credits caused by changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme and government afforestation incentives has triggered an escalation in the conversion of farm land to forestry blocks. The Government had been facing mounting pressure from the agricultural industry to ensure that overseas investments involving the conversion of land to forestry genuinely benefit New Zealand and that any associated risks (including the loss of productive farmland and threats to biodiversity) are better managed.

Those in the forestry sector and overseas investors were largely opposed to the changes. Investors view the changes as unnecessarily discouraging investment in New Zealand where there is little evidence of any real problem to address. However, the majority of submitters, particularly those submitting from an environmental and agricultural standpoint, were supportive of the amendments which aim to strike a better balance between encouraging foreign investment and protecting the production and amenity values of New Zealand’s rural landscape.

The amendments apply to all agreements entered into following 16 August 2022.  Agreements entered into before 16 August 2022 are still assessed under the previous rules, even if an OIO condition in those contracts is yet to be satisfied. 

The “benefit to New Zealand” test in section 16A of the OIA now applies to overseas investments involving the conversion of existing farm land to forestry, adding a further threshold for overseas investors to meet. 

Acquisitions of existing forestry assets will remain under the previous, and more streamlined, special forestry test. The special forestry test involves a lower threshold, and only requires evidence of the investor’s financial acumen, proposed investment strategy for the property and wider business strategy generally, and a commitment to preserving existing third-party access arrangements, heritage and conservation on the property. It does not also require the investor to establish a benefit to New Zealand. It is almost considered a tick box checklist, with minimal discretion for the Minister to decline consent provided the criteria are met.

In contrast, for forestry conversions, the benefit to New Zealand test also requires an assessment of the benefit to New Zealand introduced by the overseas investment, compared to how the current property owner would continue to run the farming operation if they retained the property. This will involve a greater element of Ministerial discretion where the proposed benefits are seen as insufficient to mitigate the loss of farm land for forestry. 

The key points worth noting from the OIA Amendment Act are:

  1. Forestry conversions are removed from the previous special forestry test, so it will now only apply to acquisitions of existing forestry assets.
  2. Forestry conversions will now be considered under the benefit to New Zealand test in section 16A of the OIA. This test considers the benefits to the economy, the natural environment, public access, protection of heritage features, advancing government policy, participation in the investment by New Zealanders, and other consequential benefits to New Zealand, which will be generated by the overseas investment. Any factors put forward must be property-specific and evidence based, and more highly productive pastoral farming land will generally require stronger benefits than marginal land due to its higher sensitivity.
  3. The higher threshold applied to farm land in section 16A(1C) (where investors must prove a “substantial” benefit to New Zealand, and where economic benefit and New Zealand participation are given more weight than the other benefit factors above) will not apply to forestry conversions where: 
      • the property will be used nearly exclusively for forestry activities;
      • any trees harvested will be replanted; and
      • the overseas person will not occupy the land for residential purposes.

    Some submitters, including Federated Farmers, thought the amendments should have gone further and subjected forestry conversions to the higher farm land benefit test. However, most supporters of the OIA Amendment Act agreed that this would be a step too far and would be overly prohibitive to investment in New Zealand.

    The OIO will require a high level of evidence of a long-term intention of carrying out forestry activities and harvesting trees, something that has not been required previously.

  4. The land can be occupied for residential purposes provided it is by a New Zealander and not the overseas person (i.e. dwellings can be rented at market rental to a New Zealander on arms-length terms or used as accommodation for forestry workers).
  5. The definition of forestry activities is narrowed to mean maintaining, harvesting or establishing a crop of trees (whether native or exotic, that are to be harvested to provide wood). ”Forestry activities” therefore now excludes permanent carbon forests, which means investment in existing carbon forests is also now subject to the benefit test. Also, unlike farmland conversions to forestry, carbon forests will be subject to the stricter farmland benefit test, requiring a “substantial” benefit to New Zealand, and greater weight placed on the economic benefit and New Zealand participation.
  6. Standing consents for forestry conversions granted before commencement of the OIA Amendment Act can continue to be used on the terms, and for the period, which they were granted, without needing to satisfy the additional benefit to New Zealand test. Most standing consents have been granted for a period of 3-4 years only so are likely to expire within the next 2 years in any case. New standing consents are only available for acquisitions of existing forest.
  7. Decisions may be delegated to the OIO or decided by the Minister (delegation being more likely for larger properties) Differing assessment timeframes and application fees will apply.

If you have any questions, or if you are considering acquiring land or business assets in New Zealand, please get in touch with a member of our Overseas Investment team.


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Government releases National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

The Government last week released its latest national environmental initiative, the new National...

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Government releases National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

Government releases National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

The Government last week released its latest national environmental initiative, the new National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) which takes effect on 17 October 2022.


The NPS-HPL is a push by the Government to protect the availability of favourable soils for food and fibre production.  However, it doesn’t purport to provide absolute protection for highly productive land recognising that ensuring compatibility with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) is also a key consideration.

The scope of the NPS-HPL is limited to rural land recognised through Land Use Capability (LUC) classifications as having productive value.  It does not apply to land zoned or identified for urban purposes (including residential, commercial and industrial).  The objective is to protect highly productive land for land-based primary production, both now and for future generations.  The policies ensure a consistent approach to the management of highly productive land and reverse sensitivity associated with primary production across the whenua.  There is also a renewed approach to ensuring tangata whenua involvement across decision-making structures for whānau, hapū, and iwi. 

We summarise the key elements of the NPS-HPL below. 

Definition

Regional councils must map as highly productive land any land that:  

  • is in a general rural zone or rural production zone;
  • is predominantly scored as having LUC classification 1, 2, or 3.  LUC class 1 signals the highest versatility of the land to accommodate primary production, with the fewest limitations on its use for that purpose.  The lowest rating is an ‘8’ which indicates no productive value; and
  • forms a large and geographically cohesive area.

Regional councils may map land that is zoned general rural or rural production but is not LUC 1, 2 or 3 as highly productive if the land is or has the potential, depending on the region, to be highly productive for land-based activity in the region. 

However, land identified for future urban development will be excluded. 

Timing for mapping and the transitional position until the mapping has occurred

The NPS-HPL comes into effect on 17 October 2022.  As soon as practicable, or within a maximum of 3 years, regional councils must notify a proposed regional policy statement with updated planning maps of the region identifying highly productive land.  Within 6 months of notification, corresponding district councils must update district planning maps in accordance with the proposed regional plans. 

Critically, in the transition period until regional councils have mapped all highly productive land, a transitional definition applies such that all land zoned general rural, rural production and classed LUC 1, 2, or 3 is deemed highly productive (and therefore subject to the provisions of the NPS-HPL) unless the land:

  • is identified by the relevant council for future urban development; OR
  • is subject to a council-initiated, or council adopted, notified plan change to rezone it from general rural or rural production to urban or rural lifestyle.  

We expect this transitional definition and the resultant application of the NPS-HPL provisions could have significant implications for a number of proposals seeking to utilise rural land for urban purposes.

Rezoning, subdivision and/or development of highly productive land

Where, either through the transitional definition or through the subsequent regional council mapping, a site is identified as containing “highly productive land”, the NPS-HPL directs that rezoning, subdivision or development of that land is to be avoided (not undertaken at all) except in certain circumstances.

In a nod to the aspirations/requirements of the NPS-UD, rezoning that land for urban purposes may occur in Tier 1 or Tier 2 territorial authority areas only if:

  • the urban rezoning is required to meet demand for housing/business land to give effect to the NPS-UD;
  • there are no other reasonably practicable or feasible options for providing sufficient development capacity within the same locality and market (considering both location and housing typology); and
  • the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits of rezoning must also outweigh the long-term environmental, social, cultural and economic costs associated with a loss of highly productive land, considering both tangible and intangible values. 

In addition to restrictions on rezoning proposals, the NPS-HPL also includes a range of constraints on subdivision and use or development of highly productive land (including where no rezoning is proposed).  Those constraints generally seek to prevent subdivision and use/development where it will adversely impact the productive capacity of the land.  There are specific exceptions to that general prohibition on inappropriate use/development of highly productive land, including where it is on specified Maori land; relates to indigenous biodiversity; is for a designated activity; or where it is needed for the operation, maintenance, upgrade or expansion of specified infrastructure. 

Where those exceptions do not apply to the subdivision, use or development, the NPS-HPL will only authorise such activities on highly productive land where territorial authorities are satisfied that: 

  • permanent or long-term constraints exist in respect of that land which mean use of it for primary production is not economically viable for at least 30 years;
  • the subdivision, use or development avoids significant loss (either individually or cumulatively) or productive capacity of such land in the district; avoids the fragmentation of large areas of highly productive land; and avoids/mitigates any potential reverse sensitivity effects on surrounding primary production; and
  • the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits of the proposal must also outweigh the corresponding long-term costs associated with the loss of highly productive land.

What does the NPS-HPL mean for you?

As illustrated above, this NPS, like a number of those issued in recent years, contains strong directions designed to protect a specific feature of the natural environment, in this case, productive land.  Where that feature is identified on a subject site, those directions could have the effect of precluding the rezoning, subdivision, land use or development entirely. 

Given the importance of our highly productive soils to human health and the health of the environment, these constraints may well be justified.  It is also clear that the potential tensions of the NPS-HPL with the aspirations and requirements of the NPS-UD relating to housing capacity have been recognised, and attempts have been made with the former to provide some accommodation to the latter.  However, the difficulty, as we see it, is the potential for significant areas of land to be classified as highly productive under the NPS-HPL when in reality they have very limited productive value.  This is made possible by the heavy (though not exclusive) reliance within that document on the LUC classifications to determine whether land is “highly productive” or not.  In reality (and as anticipated by the discussion document version of the NPS-HPL) there are a wide range of reasons why land may have productive value (or not), and there would appear to be limited opportunity to account for those in the identification of highly productive land either during the transitional default period, or through the regional councils’ mapping exercise. 

As a result, large areas of land otherwise suitable for housing, for example, could, for example, be withdrawn from any rezoning proposal because of their LUC classification, despite the fact that land may otherwise be constrained for productive use.

The NPS-HPL could also significantly constrain the establishment of new renewable energy proposals on highly productive land, noting though that an exception can exist where environmental and economic benefits outweigh the costs of loss of productive use.  This might seem at odds with both the direction within the NPS on Renewable Electricity Generation 2011, and with broader energy policy in this space.

To that end, if you are considering or currently preparing a rezoning proposal for rural land or are undertaking activities on rural land falls within LUC classifications 1, 2 or 3, we would strongly recommend that you contact Francelle Lupis or Lauren Semple to discuss the potential implications of the NPS-HPL.  You can review the LUC classification of your site for free through the Landcare/Manaaki Whenua website.


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