News + Views

Stay informed with relevant legal news and important developments.

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  • Solicitor avoids summary judgment

    Summary judgment can be an effective means of disposing of litigation before it ever reaches trial.  However, there are certain requirements that need to be carefully considered before launching such an application.  Recently, Rice Speir successfully defended its solicitor client in a summary judgment application brought in the High Court at Whangarei (Daisley v Whangarei…

  • A welcome initiative from MBIE on the “gap” in B2

    In May 2018, at the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand Conference, Helen Rice and I convened a panel discussion on an issue facing most councils in New Zealand – design engineers refusing to certify compliance with clause B2 of the Building Code. We explained that the situation is a directive from IPENZ and ACENZ,…

  • A meaty issue for Land Meat New Zealand Limited

    A recent sentencing decision demonstrates the difficulty for defendants hoping to establish successful defences to charges under the Resource Management Act 1991 (Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council v Land Meat New Zealand Limited). Land Meat New Zealand Limited (Land Meat) had pleaded guilty to discharging a contaminant, being meat processing waste water, onto land in circumstances where…

  • Can’t see the wood for the trees – part 2

    In our March 2018 newsletter we discussed the District Court case where the Queenstown Lakes District Council was found not responsible for damage to motel units caused by a falling tree located on a council reserve.  The motel owner has now successfully appealed that decision to the High Court, which found the council liable for…

  • The new workplace hazard for Council officers – online attacks

    For those in positions of official responsibility, and particularly in local government, the prospect of public frustration over certain decisions is ever-present.  People forget that a council officer is simply doing his or her job when they are faced with delays and expense from a problematic project.  It is easy for a council officer to…

  • Guidance on council decision-making functions

    The recent decision of Enterprise Miramar Peninsular Incorporated v Wellington City Council  [2018] NZHC 614 has provided some interesting guidance around council decision-making functions under the HASHAA and the RMA, particularly in relation to compliance with statutory timeframes and bias. The decision suggests: Apparent mandatory statutory timeframes, at least in HASHAA context, are in fact…

  • Dangerous and affected buildings in 2018

    Rice Speir’s recent involvement in the “Bella Vista Homes” situation in Tauranga has prompted this update on the dangerous and affected building regime in the Building Act 2004 (the Act).  As media reports suggest it is unprecedented for 21 homes to have been issued with dangerous and/or affected building notices at the same time.  In addition,…

  • Prosecuting to protect the past

    At a time where land for new commercial and residential buildings is becoming increasingly scarce, heritage can be seen as a hindrance to development.  Property owners, failing to appreciate the significance of their historic items, will undertake work without consulting with councils and/or applying for resource consent.  However, the public interest in preserving heritage is…

  • Building Act Potpourri

    Rice Speir regularly fields questions from local government clients about the day to day application of the Building Act and Building Code. Here are a few issues that we have dealt with recently that may be of interest. Pre-fabricated buildings We have recently dealt with the issue of pre-fabricated buildings constructed overseas, then placed on…

  • Can’t See the Wood for the Trees

    Queenstown Lakes District Council was found to not be liable for damage to motel units caused by a falling tree, which was on council land. The District Court concluded that the council did owe a duty of care to undertake inspection and maintenance of the trees on the council’s reserve, but had not breached its…