Two decisions of the Environment Court issued in 2015 (Tram Lease Limited v Auckland Council ( NZRMA 343) and Tram Lease Limited v Auckland Transport ((2015) NZEnvC 137) caused some consternation among planning practitioners (lawyers and planners alike) as to whether it is appropriate for planning witnesses to opine on the ultimate issue in RMA proceedings, being the “overall broad judgement” that a consent authority or the Environment Court needs to make under Part 2 of the RMA and, if so, how that opinion should be expressed.
In order to address that issue, Simon Berry (in his capacity as a Court Convenor on the National Committee of the RMLA) and Helen Andrews collaborated with Bryce Julyan (in his capacity as President of the NZPI) to produce a paper entitled “The Role of Expert Planning Witnesses” that was placed on the NZPI and RMLA websites as a guidance note for practitioners.
In preparing the paper they obtained valuable input from the Environment Court via Principal Environment Judge Newhook who had canvassed the members of His Honour’s bench.
That paper has now been published in the LexisNexis “Resource Management Bulletin” ((2016) 11 RMB 146). The editor of the Bulletin had kindly consented to us placing the article on our website for ease of reference.
If you have any questions in relation to the issues raised, please do not hesitate to make contact with Simon Berry or Helen Andrews.