RMLA News

RMLA Regional News : August 2016

Auckland – Francelle Lupis

On 21 July the Auckland Committee hosted over 150 people at the 15th lecture in the Salmon series, held annually since 2002 in honour of the Hon Peter Salmon QC. The lecture was delivered this year by Ms Rachel de Lambert, Director at Boffa Miskell, on the eve of the release of the Unitary Plan Panel’s recommendations.  Reflecting the debate over residential intensification that has waged since the Proposed Unitary Plan was notified, Ms de Lambert addressed us on the subject of “Auckland’s Urban Form – Quality Compact?” Amongst numerous other insights, Rachel used a GIS mapping tool to demonstrate how Auckland can be visually mapped to identify ‘development gaps’ where urban density can be achieved without contributing to urban sprawl.

Our members are now well underway with the task of pouring over the Panel’s recommendations, with Council deliberations on their content due to commence on 10 August.  A final decision is likely to be issued on 19 August, in advance of the upcoming local body elections.  Looking ahead to election day, on 1 September we will host a mayoral candidates debate at Simpson Grierson, with the Unitary Plan, housing market and transport/infrastructure woes likely to be hot topics on the night.  Register quick for that one when the flyer is circulated!

Waikato – Joan Forret

The Waikato Branch has had a very quiet year since our meeting with Judge Newhook in March and the Natural Hazards Roadshow also in March.  That gap in the Branch’s calendar has highlighted our appreciation of the work done by the RMLA executive in organising National Roadshows.

The Branch will now have a busy couple of months with 3 seminars planned for spring.  On 7 September, Dr Michael Steven will present a paper entitled: Seeing the forest and the trees:  Towards a valid and reliable method for the assessment of natural character.  In this session Mike will discuss assessment issues arising from NZCPS Policy 13, will offer a succinct and valid definition of natural character, and will describe a robust method for the assessment of natural character that meets tests of validity and reliability.  We hope to have a panel of local experts to stimulate robust discussion.

Following the annual conference, the Branch will host a National Roadshow event that looks at the law and practice around heritage issues in planning.  The presentation will be delivered by the Geraldine Baumann, Senior Legal Adviser, for with Heritage New Zealand.  This seminar has been tentatively planned for 6 October and again will hopefully include some local expert input.

We are planning a third spring seminar also in October, or perhaps early November to highlight work being done by Waikato Regional Council in conjunction with stakeholders on the Healthy Rivers project, which is the subject of a forthcoming plan change.

We welcome any suggestions from members regarding further events.

The Waikato Branch has had a very quiet year since our meeting with Judge Newhook in March and the Natural Hazards Roadshow also in March.  That gap in the Branch’s calendar has highlighted our appreciation of the work done by the RMLA executive in organising National Roadshows. The Branch will now have a busy couple of months with 3 seminars planned for spring.  

On 7 September, Dr Michael Steven will present a paper entitled: Seeing the forest and the trees:  Towards a valid and reliable method for the assessment of natural character.  In this session Mike will discuss assessment issues arising from NZCPS Policy 13, will offer a succinct and valid definition of natural character, and will describe a robust method for the assessment of natural character that meets tests of validity and reliability.  We hope to have a panel of local experts to stimulate robust discussion.

Following the annual conference, the Branch will host a National Roadshow event that looks at the law and practice around heritage issues in planning. The presentation will be delivered by the Geraldine Baumann, Senior Legal Adviser, for with Heritage New Zealand. This seminar has been tentatively planned for 6 October and again will hopefully include some local expert input.

We are planning a third spring seminar also in October, or perhaps early November to highlight work being done by Waikato Regional Council in conjunction with stakeholders on the Healthy Rivers project, which is the subject of a forthcoming plan change.  We welcome any suggestions from members regarding further events.

Bay of Plenty – Paula Golsby

On 3 August the Bay of Plenty branch had its annual social event combined with the local branch of the New Zealand Planning Institute.  The event was a themed cook-off which tested our french language skills, team work, and kitchen talent!  The event was greatly attended and the branch appreciates the venue provided by the Beca office in Tauranga, and the organising of the event by Cushla Loomb, David Greaves, Tracy Hayson and Coles Burmester.

The Office of Treaty Settlements has put out a new funding policy for consultation relating to claims for customary interests under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act, which would allow claimants to obtain funding to pursue such claims.  Funding may cover appointment of counsel, project managers, historians and researchers.  There are already two claims lodged in the High Court under this Act relating to the Bay of Plenty Rohe, by Whakatohea and Motiti Rohe Moana Trust, which have been delayed due to funding issues (among other matters).  Applications under this Act must be made before 3 April 2017, so it will be interesting to observe whether the new funding policy assists in the lodgement of further claims before the limitation period expires.

The committee is currently working on future events and expects to hold its AGM in the near future.  Any RMLA members interested in contributing to the organisation of local events and promoting the RMLA should consider standing for the local committee at the time of the AGM.  Fresh ideas and enthusiasm is welcomed!

Wellington – Nicky McIndoe

The Wellington Committee has recently farewelled two members who are off overseas. Our thanks for the energy and time given by Maia Wikara (co-chair) and Lisa Bazalo (secretary), and best wishes for their future endeavours. Nicky McIndoe is remaining as Section Chair, and will be assisted by Claire Fell as our new Secretary.

The next Section evening will be a wine options evening on 11 August. Mark St Clair will be running the event, which has been very popular in previous years. This is bound to be a fun networking opportunity.

Nelson – Antoinette Besier

On 1 July the branch held a seminar presented by Dennis Bush-King on the topic ‘Bending the Law’.   This seminar addressed the proposed amendments to the RMA to provide discretion to local authorities to sign off activities as permitted activities.  For the first time we were able to set up skype so that Blenheim based members were able to ‘attend.’  The next lunch time seminar will be held on Monday 29 August at 12.30 at the Nelson City Council chambers.  The presenter will be Julian Ironside and the topic is ‘Subject to Part 2 – some recent developments.’

September is shaping up to be a busy month with the heritage road show which will be held on 15 September at 5pm at Trailways Hotel followed a few days later by the conference!  The local branch is looking forward to hosting the event and welcoming you all.