Environmental / Resource Management

Minor Law Changes Not To Be Overlooked

Created: Wednesday, 01 April 2015 03:14

The Statutes Amendment Bill (No 4) brings with it important changes to a range of legislation affecting local government.

Omnibus Bills such as the above, which was passed on 24 March 2015, are often overlooked but can introduce significant changes to the law. This Bill amends a number of Acts that come within the every day operating sphere of local government. We have identified those of most relevance.

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Easements Over Reserve Land

Created: Tuesday, 24 March 2015 03:14

Schmuck v Director General, Department of Conservation and Ors [2015] NZHC 422

It is always gratifying to have one's advice confirmed by the High Court, but even more so when it involves a matter that has been needlessly frustrating to all parties involved for over a decade.

The recent High Court decision of Heath J in Schmuck v Director General confirms that the granting of easements over reserve land under section 48 of the Reserves Act 1977 (the Act), can be for both specific and general purposes, and is sometimes a necessary adjunct of protecting land without stymying other activities that are in the public interest.

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Easements Over Reserve Land

Created: Monday, 23 March 2015 19:59

Schmuck v Director General, Department of Conservation and Ors [2015] NZHC 422

It is always gratifying to have one's advice confirmed by the High Court, but even more so when it involves a matter that has been needlessly frustrating to all parties involved for over a decade.

The recent High Court decision of Heath J in Schmuck v Director General confirms that the granting of easements over reserve land under section 48 of the Reserves Act 1977 (the Act), can be for both specific and general purposes, and is sometimes a necessary adjunct of protecting land without stymying other activities that are in the public interest.

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An Update on the 2015 RMA Reforms

Created: Wednesday, 11 March 2015 20:17

Rotary meetings seldom grab the national headlines but this all changed in late January. No it wasn't an installation of the hallowed 32 burner BBQ at the local park, but a topic just as hot - the Minister for the Environment's speech on reform of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). The attention was justified.

Sure the speech was light on detail, but that is to be expected given policy development and work on a proposed Bill is continuing at pace. What it did provide was a sense of Minister Nick Smith's vision for the reforms and how that differs from the direction taken by the previous Minister. When considered alongside the February 2013 discussion document (Ministry for the Environment, Improving our Resource Management System Discussion Document) released by the previous Minister, the speech allows a map for the reforms to be drawn, albeit by inference.

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Advertising Standards Authority and Local Government Reorganisation

Created: Wednesday, 04 March 2015 00:52

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) was subject to an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling on a "misleading" super-city advertisement that pushed for the city’s amalgamation.  The GWRC advertisement appeared in the Hutt News community newspaper and promoted the Local Government Commission's (the Commission) draft proposal for the reorganisation of the Wellington region. 

Hutt City Council (HCC) complained that GWRC's advertisement breached the advertising Code of Ethics.

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Supreme Court has Last Word on Upgrading Earthquake-prone Buildings

Created: Friday, 27 March 2015 11:18

Natural disasters often test the boundaries of the law.  In University of Canterbury v Insurance Council of NZ Inc [2014] NZSC 193, the Supreme Court considered the power of territorial authorities to require work to be carried out on earthquake-prone buildings. It found that local authorities are not entitled to require that such buildings be strengthened to more than 34% of the  new building standard (NBS).

History

Christchurch City Council’s 2010 Policy concerning earthquake-prone buildings (the City Council Policy) adopted recommendations of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering that the level of strengthening required to reduce or remove the danger posed by an earthquake-prone building was 67% of NBS.

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