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Our Covid Response

Created: Tuesday, 07 December 2021 10:41

As we move to the Covid Protection Framework, the wellbeing of our people and everyone visiting our offices remains our main priority.

To help us minimise the risk of Covid-19 being transmitted at work, we’re introducing a policy which requires anyone working in or visiting our offices to be fully vaccinated against Covid 19. This policy came into effect on Monday, 6 December 2021.

If you’re visiting our offices, or attending an event that we’re hosting, you will be asked to scan your My Vaccine Pass on your arrival. If you prefer, there is always the option to meet virtually.

Thank you for your support as we implement this policy. We will continue to review this policy to ensure it stays relevant as New Zealand’s Covid-19 situation evolves.

Water Services Act 2021 set to transform water safety in Aotearoa

Created: Tuesday, 26 October 2021 11:21

Parliament has passed the Water Services Bill, which received royal assent on 4 October 2021. The aim of the Water Services Act 2021 (WSA) is to implement the Government’s comprehensive reforms to the regulatory system for drinking water and to improve the regulation and performance of wastewater and stormwater networks. It repeals and replaces Part 2A of the Health Act 1956 and commences 4 October 2023, or earlier by Order in Council.

The main purpose of the WSA is to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers by way of a drinking water regulatory framework that is consistent with internationally accepted best practice. The WSA’s additional purposes are to:

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Native Title and Freshwater Rights

Created: Wednesday, 08 September 2021 12:43

Te Whānau a Kai Trust v Gisborne District Council [2021] NZEnvC 115

This appeal raised significant questions of law concerning the jurisdiction of the Environment Court and whether native title extends to freshwater.

Te Whānau a Kai appealed the Gisborne District Council’s decision in respect of submissions on the proposed Gisborne Regional Freshwater Plan (Freshwater Plan). The appeal sought amendments to the Freshwater Plan to recognise the customary (including proprietary) interests of Te Whānau a Kai in freshwater within its rohe, and by so doing, that its interests in those waters be taken into account in all decision making. The key issues and the Court’s findings are summarised below.

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Welcome Guidance from the High Court on Development Contribution Policies

Created: Friday, 03 September 2021 08:39

As Councils throughout New Zealand are acutely aware, it is a constant struggle to find sufficient funding to support development, particularly in greenfields areas where there is either no, or insufficient, existing infrastructure. Generally, Councils must construct a patchwork quilt of funding sources in order to provide important services, including requiring payments from developers. One such way that this is achieved is via development contributions. Development contributions are an important but complex funding tool available to Councils via the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA). They can only be required to be paid in accordance with a development contributions policy (DCP), which must be set and amended in accordance with the (often not entirely clear) requirements of the LGA. Until recently, there has been little guidance from the Courts regarding the implementation of DCPs since the 2008 decision in Neil Construction Ltd v North Shore City Council [2008] NZRMA 275.

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Two-month extensions for Annual Reporting and Audit Time Frames

Created: Monday, 12 July 2021 11:23

The Annual Reporting and Audit Time Frames Extensions Legislation Bill (the Bill) has been passed by the House and will come into force when it receives royal assent. The Bill amends the Crown Entities Act 2004 (CEA) and the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA02) by extending, for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years, the time frames provided in relation to audits of Crown entities, with end-of-year balance dates of 30 June, and the annual reporting requirements of local authorities and council-controlled organisations.

 Crown entities

Crown entities, under the CEA, must provide their audit reports to the Auditor-General within 3 months after the end of the financial year. This deadline is extended by the Bill for Crown entities (and organisations subject to provisions of the CEA), with end-of-year balance dates of 30 June. For the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years their audit reports must be provided to the Auditor-General by the close of 31 December.

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First exposure draft of the replacement to the Resource Management Act released

Created: Friday, 02 July 2021 12:43

The Government has released its long awaited first exposure draft of the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA), the proposed replacement to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) as part of its wider reforms touted as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity.

This release follows the Government’s February 2021 announcement to reform New Zealand’s resource management system by repealing the RMA and replacing it, in addition to the NBA, with:

  • Strategic Planning Act (SPA) to integrate with other legislation relevant to development, and require long-term regional spatial strategies; and
  • Climate Change Adaptation Act (CAA) to address complex legal and technical issues associated with managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation.

This article outlines the exposure draft of the NBA and the process to follow.

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