Resource Management and Commercial Property: Winter Newsletter

In this edition:

Overseas investment changes

New Zealand’s overseas investment regime has undergone some significant changes this year as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19.

The Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Amendment Act 2020 has now been enacted and some of the changes have already come into force. The key current and future changes are outlined here.

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Tiny home or large vehicle?

Is it a home or is it a vehicle?  There is currently no nation-wide regulation of the building and occupation of tiny homes and each local council deals with tiny homes in different ways. Despite calls for legislative change to provide more certainty for those who wish to build and use tiny homes, uncertainty remains. A recent Canterbury case gives a useful overview of the key issues.

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Resource Management Act amendments and fast-track enacted

Major changes to New Zealand’s resource management landscape have been introduced in the past two weeks.

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 is the first stage of the Government’s proposed reforms to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).  The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 is the Government’s temporary means of addressing the serious economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article we provide detail on two key aspects of the Amendment Act and an overview of the Fast-track Act.

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Proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality

Developments in the understanding of air contaminants and effects on human health have resulted in the Government proposing amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ). Submissions on the proposed amendments close on 31 July 2020.

Impacts are most likely to be felt in the areas of home heating, roads and combustion-based industrial activities.

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Introducing Steffan Ronald

Prior to lockdown, our Commercial Property team welcomed its newest Christchurch-based team member.  We asked him some questions about life inside and outside the firm.

  1. What were you doing before joining the team?

I grew up in Auckland and moved to Wellington in 2013 for university where I combined my law degree with a BA in political studies and Spanish.  After graduating and a period overseas, I moved to Christchurch early last year and have been working as a commercial property solicitor since.

  1. Why did you decide to join Lane Neave?

Lane Neave was one of the few Christchurch-based firms I had known about since I was at university.  I knew it had one of the best experiences on offer for junior lawyers and I have not been disappointed with the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere offered here.  Lane Neave’s Commercial Property team is one of the largest in New Zealand and has built up a portfolio of top quality staff and clients.  It has been an engaging and exciting experience since joining.

  1. How did you cope with COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown?

Like most people I found the events, and the level 4 lockdown period in particular, surreal and unsettling.  It was really strange starting at the Lane Neave office and then going to ‘work from home’ mode a few days later.  I found that the constant communication from the firm, the NZ Law Society and the Government helped keep me in the loop despite the isolating work environment.  I think most of the team are happy to be back in the office now and we’ve learnt that we can cope with working under extraordinary circumstances.

  1. What areas of legal work have you enjoyed so far?

Since being at Lane Neave, I’ve had exposure to more complex subdivision work which I’ve found both interesting and stimulating.  One of my main pieces of work involves the residential development at Alexandra Park in Auckland.  I really enjoy work where I’m able to deliver real results, from helping clients with their leases in the aftermath of COVID-19 to helping them purchase their dream home.

  1. What do you enjoy outside work?

Outside work I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  I have enjoyed getting to know Christchurch and explore the beautiful South Island which I had never really done before moving down here.  One of my favourite weekend activities is catching the Saturday market in Lyttelton before heading over for an afternoon in Akaroa.

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