Environmental Policy & Law Reform

Connecting the dots of Aotearoa’s future conservational legislation


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Derek Nolan QC , Barrister, Bankside Chambers
Breaking down the Natural and Built Environment Act bill

The Resources Management Act will be replaced by the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA), the Strategic Planning Act (SPA), and the Climate Change Adaptation Act (CAA) within the current Government’s term. This opening session will provide the very latest updates on current progress and development in the legislative reform process.

Rachel Brooking, Labour List MP and Local Government and Environmental Law Expert
Thoughts on the resource management system reform and the flow on effects
  • What are the motivations behind this wide ranging reform?
  • Moving forward: how will the new legislation be incorporated into planning?
  • Will it achieve its stated objectives?
  • Will it be workable?
  • What support should stakeholders expect from central Government?
Mary Hill, Partner, Cooney Lees Morgan
Morning break
Evaluating approaches to fast track consenting
  • Predicting how long fast-track consent process will be available
  • Measuring whether fast tracking has been a success
  • Evaluating the outcome of the other alternative approaches for shortened consent processes
Kristen Gunnell, Senior Associate, Russell McVeagh
Examining Māori influence and perspectives on RMA reform
  • Embedding tikanga Māori into environmental law
  • Collaborating with Māori during the transition decision making
Kuru Ketu, Associate, McCaw Lewis
Lunch break
The National Planning Framework: The Engine Room of the Natural and Built Environments Act
  • How will the NPF fit into the overall architecture of the new legislation (including limits, targets, combined plans and regional spatial strategies)?
  • What makes the NPF different to the collection of national direction we have now, and how could we transition between the two?
  • What are some of the unresolved policy and legal issues with the NPF to keep an eye on as the reform process continues?
Greg Severinsen , Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Defence Society
Understanding the challenges being faced by Local Government in a rapidly changing environment
  • The regulatory role now, and through future reform
  • Balancing the economic and development growth needed with environmental concerns
  • Key learnings from recent plan reviews to assist the reform process
Stephen Quinn, Partner, DLA Piper
Afternoon break
Examining the RMA reform from the Court’s perspective
  • Outlining the NBA, SPA and CAA from the Environment court’s POV
  • Assessing recent court rulings related to the RMA reforms
  • Discussing consent processing referred to the Environment Court
Hon David Kirkpatrick,  Chief Environment Court Judge,  Environment Court of New Zealand
Forecasting the proposed National Policy Statement on indigenous biodiversity

In 2019-2020 the Government consulted kiwis on a proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.  Since then, the NPSIB seems to have stalled.  However,  in the meantime Government has announced sweeping reform of Aotearoa’s environmental and resource management law and national direction on protecting ecological integrity through use of limits and targets. It has signalled that existing national direction, including the NPSIB will be included in the new law in some form.   This session explores the content of the proposed NPSIB and the rationale behind its provisions, its implications for both maintenance of indigenous biodiversity and for development, and how it might fit within the new legal framework.

Madeleine C Wright, Environmental Lawyer, Sally Gepp Barrister
Summary remarks from Chair and networking drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Marija Batistich, Senior Corporate Counsel , KiwiRail
Understanding the impact of the Three Waters Reforms
  • Breaking down the reform proposal and recommendations from the Independent Working Group
  • Understanding the environmental drivers for reforming Three Waters – a snapshot of our current water woes
  • The National Transition Unit’s Planning Technical Working Group and the overlap with RMA reform   
  • Facing the challenge ahead – improving the environmental footprint of three waters infrastructure, the impact on individual local authorities, and co-governance as a reality
Linda O’Reilly, Special Counsel, Tompkins Wake
Jill Gregory, Senior Associate, Tompkins Wake
Case Study: Exploring the ramifications of Ngati Awa’s water bottling court case
  • Investigating the background to this appeal
  • What are the ramifications of the case?
  • Considering the perspectives on water rights
Gerald Lanning, Consultant, Simpson Grierson
Morning Break
Aotearoa’s developing response to climate change
  • Zero Carbon Act framework – where are we at and what’s next?
  • Recent and anticipated policy developments, including national direction on greenhouse gas discharges under the RMA.
  • Anticipating the proposed Climate Change Adaptation Act.
  • Key consenting and planning implications.
Stephanie de Groot, Senior Associate - Environment and Planning, MinterEllisonRuddWatts
Panel: Climate-Related Consenting and Planning – Strategies to Manage Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Risks
  • Climate-related consenting litigation in New Zealand and overseas
  • Consenting approaches to Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
  • Managing climate adaptation expectations in consenting and plans
Steve Mutch, Partner, ChanceryGreen
Dr Lee Beattie, Head of School - School of Architecture + Planning , The University of Auckland
Helen Andrews, Partner, Berry Simons
Lunch break
Reviewing updates to the National Environmental Standards & NPS Freshwater Management
  • Insights into applying Te Mana o te Wai throughout Aotearoa
  • Understanding the implications and definitions relating to natural wetlands
  • Exploring different approaches to implementing the new regulations and related policy around Aotearoa
Natasha Garvan, Partner, Bell Gully
Measuring what matters – how will the outcomes focused, long term and inclusive ethos of the NBA apply in practice

Waka Kotahi recently mandated use of the ISC rating tools on projects over $15M to help it bring its sustainability policy to life

  • Who are ISC and how do their ratings tools work?
  • In the light of mandatory climate reporting, preferential financial and insurance terms for those adopting a sustainable approach and increasing stakeholder demands, what transition insights might there be from the ISC experience?
Adrienne L. Miller, General Manager New Zealand, Infrastructure Sustainability Council
Afternoon break
A synopsis of the Urban Development Act
  • Understanding Kāinga Ora's new powers under the UDA
  • How will Kāinga Ora collaborate with local government, Maori and their development partners under the new Act?
  • How does the new streamlined process work?
  • What environmental safeguards are there within the Act
Jennifer Caldwell, Partner, Buddle Findlay
Unpacking the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill
  • Understanding how the RMA Amendment will impact processes and planning
  • When might historic heritage take precedence?
  • Looking at the flow on effects of increasing density under this bill
  • How will the amendment fortify the NPS UD?
Christina Sheard, Partner, Dentons Kensington Swan
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference