There are four examples of environmental issues where the provision of services to local authorities and other significant entities by me and my team has been at a high level and that exhibit what I consider to be excellence in my principal area of specialisation. These example show I work across most resource domains; land , freshwater and ocean.

Wind Farming the Manawatu

I have been involved in most of the cases involving wind farming in the Manawatu. An issue addressed in one publication by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment reflecting its importance. That work has included addressing cumulative visual effects and community concerns about noise. I was involved in the first Board of Inquiry run by the EPA called the Turitea Wind Farm BOI that resulted in a massive two volume decision by the Board that was led by Judge Kenderdine . I acted for Palmerston North City Council. I also led the Council's case on the Motorimu Wind Farm. See Motorimu Wind Farm Limited v. Palmerston North City Council Decision No. W067/2008. I was also involved in the Puketoi application near Dannevirke for MWRC which is Contact Energy Limited v. Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council Decision [2010] NZEnvC 406. See also Palmerston North City Council v. New Zealand Windfarms Ltd [2014] NZCA 601. The latter complex noise issue was finally resolved satisfactorily with revised consent conditions in 2017.

Management of the land resources of the Mackenzie Basin

I acted as Counsel for Meridian Energy Ltd concerning Plan Change 13 in the Mackenzie Basin controlling land use. The Basin is , of course, one of New Zealand's iconic outstanding landscapes and also home to the Waitaki Electric Power Scheme. There were thirteen Environment Court decisions and two High Court decisions from this litigation ending in an Environment Court decision in 2017. This environmental litigation represents some of the most important for a range of reasons in New Zealand’s recent environmental law history. The first decision has the reference [2011] NZEnvC 387 and the first High Court decision is 2013 [NZHC] 518.

Freshwater management

 I acted for the One Plan hearings in 2012 (and the High Court sequels in 2012- 2013) for the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council. The hearing of the appeals on that notified planning instrument spanned some months and resulted in five Environment Court decisions; see Day v. Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council [2012] NZEnvC 182. The Plan brought together six existing regional plans and a regional policy statement into a single combined document. There were two particularly innovative aspects of the planning instrument. First, the management of terrestrial biodiversity based on modelled assessments of the scale of habitat loss and ecological thresholds. Secondly, requiring a resource consent to intensively farm (dairying and irrigated sheep and beef) as part of the integrated management of nutrient outputs including nitrogen and phosphorous in targeted catchments where water quality was poor. Allocation of nitrogen leaching over landscapes was based on a natural capital approach using Land Use Capability classes. The environmental goals were embedded in a suite of environmental values pegged to bespoke physio-chemical standards. The outcome of that process was a benchmark for new second-generation regional plans managing effects concerning freshwater. Two related High Court decisions that I appeared on were both decisions of Kos J. The references are Property Rights in New Zealand Incorporated v. Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council [2012] NZHC 1272 and Horticulture New Zealand v. Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council [2013] NZHC 2492. They are relevant to terrestrial biodiversity management and nitrogen management from land use. Both are important environmental law decisions for New Zealand.


Aquaculture in the Marlborough region

As a result of my work concerning aquaculture in several Environment Court decisions referred to above, I am now assisting Marlborough District Council on spatial allocation methods to provide for existing agriculture in the Marlborough Sounds. Aquaculture is an important industry in New Zealand, and it is located (in the case of the Marlborough Sounds) in a very sensitive environment.

I therefore have expertise in land, freshwater and ocean-related environmental management in New Zealand.

Also, I remain abreast of the law by maintaining my Chair Certification for the Making Good Decisions programme and regularly attend RMLA sponsored events. I am a hub leader on a RMLA knowledge hub to transmit current information amongst members.

I have also co-ordinated delivery of seminars to local authority planning teams on recent developments in resource management law.

I provided for the EPA in 2013 a seminar on decision-making to new decision-makers exercising powers under the EEZ and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

I am interested in New Zealand’s indigenous biodiversity and have made legal contributions to elucidating the strong statutory provisions enacted during 2003 – 2008 to meet New Zealand’s obligations under the Biodiversity Convention 1992 as well as calling good ecological evidence. That is important as ecosystems have no voice except through advocacy by those with interest in ecology. Those with a keen interest in that field obtain confidence the legal profession’s reach is not limited to advancing purely economic interests. The decline in indigenous biodiversity is an important challenge for New Zealand .

Land USe, development and subdivision :

I have worked on all aspects of land use and development. I specialise in plan making and plan changes to facilitate development.

I have been involved in major projects including windfarms and marine development and management of landscapes.

I have an excellent working knowledge of the following disciplines:

a) Noise

b) Landscape

c) Transport

d) Ecology

e) Urban design

Water : 

I have been involved in regional plan development for over a 15 years and  I understand the challenges and issues related to integrated catchment to achieve water quality goals as well as the recognised water quality metrics/

Allocation of water remains one of the most challenging aspects of freshwater management because economic devlopment in New Zealand  often centres on industry with high water demands. Efficient allocation of water resources will increasing require more consideration of the economic consequences of allocation.


Ocean :

I developed skills in the management of coastal marine space over the last 10 years. This has involved numerous high profile aquaculture cases including the Davidson v Marlborough District Council case. 


Management of biodiversity of coastal waters is an area of interest and the Motiti Moana Rohe decision I ran for Marlborough District Council recognises the important function of regional councils in the biodiversity of coastal marine environments was a particularly important decision.


Marine ecology is a complex and interesting field and one of the least understood by environmental practitioners in New Zealand.