Latest Articles

'Tag' Report into RMA Sections 6 & 7 and Natural Hazards

Created: Friday, 06 July 2012 00:58

The Resource Management Act 1991 Principles Technical Advisory Group has released its Report on its review of sections 6 and 7 of the RMA and the natural hazards provisions.

The Report makes recommendations including that:

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Section 274 RMA - Who Has Standing?

Created: Wednesday, 27 June 2012 01:08

Treble Tree Holdings Limited v Marlborough District Council

This case involves the interpretation of section 274 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and is important for decision makers and developers to bear in mind as section 274 notices arrive. Interestingly, it states that a person who holds a certain level of scientific knowledge, which relates to the subject matter of the appeal, may come within the terms of section 274(1)(d) as having a greater interest than the general public. The judgment also considers the accepted interpretation of section 274(1)(d) and sets out the principles arising from the previous case law which should be applied.

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The Dangers of Careless Consultation

Created: Thursday, 07 June 2012 01:08

Cressick Valley Residents Association Inc v Wellington City Council

Cressick Valley Resident's Association (CVRA) sought judicial review of decisions made by the Wellington City Council (Council) concerning the re-zoning of a site owned by Terrace Heights Holdings Ltd, the second respondent, which was located near to the homes of members of CVRA. The re-zoning of the site was undertaken at the request of the owner in the context of a wider plan change proposed by the Council.

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Trials and Errors

Created: Saturday, 02 June 2012 06:13

One year on from trial periods becoming available to all employers for new employees, we review two important cases which provide clarification, and some warnings, to employers wishing to use trial periods.

In Smith v Stokes Valley Pharmacy (2009) Limited, the Employment Court held that, among other things, as Ms Smith had worked for one day for the new employer before she signed her employment agreement, she was not a "new employee" when she signed her employment agreement, and the 90‑day trial period contained in her agreement was therefore ineffective. On that basis alone, the Employment Court found that Ms Smith was able to challenge her dismissal.

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Holding Employees to Account: Restraint of Trade Clauses

Created: Saturday, 02 June 2012 03:12

The Employment Court has upheld restraint of trade clauses in a number of cases recently, demonstrating that the days when restraints were widely regarded as "not worth the paper they're written on" are over.

The starting point for restraints is that they are unlawful as being anti competitive and accordingly against public policy. However, where the employer has a genuine "proprietary interest" to protect, such as, trade secrets, pricing, client, or other confidential information, the Courts can and will hold employees to their restraint obligations.

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Justification Test: Is "Could" different than "Would"?

Created: Saturday, 02 June 2012 03:10

The objective test at Section 103A of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (Act) for justification of a dismissal or other action by an employer changed on 1 April 2011, to "...whether the employer's actions, and how the employer acted, were what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances at the time the dismissal or action occurred" (ie the word "could" has been substituted for the former "would" in an otherwise materially identical subsection).

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