Connections

Conversations about local government issues, insights and views

Staying informed with relevant news and important developments is critical for us and our clients. We regularly publish insightful articles that discuss the world of local government, record podcasts with thought leaders, and facilitate networking events throughout New Zealand.

Guidance for Building Consent Authorities in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle

Natural hazards at a time of significant uncertainty – guidance for Building Consent Authorities in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle Cyclone Gabrielle was one of the largest natural disasters in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.  Many North Island councils (as well as some South Island ones) have grappled with how to approach building consenting…

Building Act prosecution of Bella Vista Homes builder / developer finally at an end

The curtains have come down on one of the country’s longest running Building Act prosecutions after the Supreme Court had the final say and declined Danny Cancian’s application to bring a third appeal against his convictions. Background Mr Cancian, along with other defendants, including his company Bella Vista Homes Limited, was charged by Tauranga City…

Alcohol LAPse (pun intended)

Of the 33 provisional local alcohol policies (LAPs) developed since 2017, 32 have been appealed, with the average duration from notification of a provisional LAP to adoption being 790 days! Because of the time and costs involved in fighting these appeals, many councils (representing over 50% of New Zealand’s population) have halted or abandoned the…

Resource management reforms: what you need to know

By now, those working in the resource management space will be aware that the Natural and Built Environment Act 2023 (or NBA) and the Spatial Planning Act 2023 (or SPA) were recently passed into law, receiving Royal Assent on 23 August 2023.  These Acts provide for the reform and eventual repeal of the Resource Management…

MBIE determinations: the system is broken

In August 2021 we asked whether the MBIE determination process was still fit for purpose.  The article, which I’d encourage you to read on Rice Speir’s website before continuing, generated a lot of phone calls and emails from astute building control officers around the country. A couple of years on, a follow-up piece was in…

Supreme Court has final say: Napier City Council the victors in long running dispute

The Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision and dismissed the appeal of Local Government Mutual Funds Trustee Limited (RiskPool), finding that Napier City Council is insured under its policy with RiskPool for non-weathertightness related defects. The Supreme Court’s decision brings to an end a long running dispute of significance to councils and…

The future for trout under the NBA Bill

Trout, a species that divides opinions in New Zealand, is seen as a harmful invader of waterways by some and a prized catch for anglers by others. It may come as a surprise that the habitat of trout and salmon is specifically protected under section 7(h) of the RMA. Is this provision outdated, considering that…

ChatGPT: a helpful tool or legal roulette?

As a tech-savvy lawyer, I’m always on the lookout for new tools to make my job easier. But let me tell you, there’s one tool that’s been causing me a lot of trouble lately – ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an AI language model that can help lawyers find and present legal authorities quickly, but there’s a…

Council prosecutions: a ‘how to’ guide for serving defendants

One of the core functions of local authorities is prosecuting and enforcing non-compliance with regulatory requirements, such as breaches of the Building Act and/or the Resource Management Act, and under the Dog Control Act. Once a charge has been laid in the District Court, a defendant needs to be served with the charge, and summonsed.…

Congratulations to our staff

Rice Speir is delighted to announce the well-deserved promotions of four outstanding members of our team; Sarah Farnell and Jade Magrath to Senior Associate and Bodene Robertson-Wright and Rosie Argyle to Senior Solicitor. At Rice Speir we are committed to investing in the professional development of our team members and these promotions are a reflection…