Environment and resource management

We take the lead in advising on a wide range of environmental, resource management and local government issues.

  • Summary
  • Work highlights
  • People
  • Publications

​ We have a solid reputation for achieving results on complex and large projects which means we are in demand for significant projects that are shaping major cities, as investment in the infrastructure continues at pace in New Zealand.

Our team of experts assists clients to manage the complex consenting and compliance issues involved in major projects and developments. Our experience in large scale infrastructure work, commercial development (including retail and office), manufacturing, transport, energy, mining, coastal, agriculture (including viticulture), and climate change provides our clients with leading expertise, no matter what the issue or project.

We assist with regulatory approvals and processes for a wide range of projects and provide advice and input into policy at district, regional and national levels. We also advise on environmental liability issues, particularly on contaminated sites, working with clients on their immediate and longer term issues.

Our clients tell us we are pragmatic, cost effective and results orientated.

The team is currently working on a number of projects including advising Auckland Transport on strategic transport planning initiatives including the City Rail Link (CRL) project. This is currently the biggest project for Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and is valued at NZ$2.86 billion. We are also advising on major roading network upgrades including Project Mill Road and Penlink as well as workstreams to enable the development of the Ruakura inland transportation hub for Tainui (value NZ$3 billion).

We are advising the Southern Consortium on a proposal to rezone 150 ha of land in Manukau for business, light industrial and associated activities (value NZ$500 million). We are also a cting on a number of Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan matters for a number of clients including Air New Zealand and New Zealand Sugar and assisting CentrePort and Port Marlborough with development proposals.

We have also won a number of recent new instructions and clients including advising Transpower on its planning and policy work throughout New Zealand.

Our team has specific and extensive expertise in due diligence advice for company mergers, acquisitions and property transactions, particularly with respect to sensitive land applications under the Overseas Investment Act.

We represent clients in contested proceedings before Councils, the Environment Court and the Higher Courts. Bell Gully plays an active role in the Resource Management Law Association of New Zealand.

Recognition of our environment and resource management expertise

Bell Gully "always provides commercially pragmatic advice ".

Bell Gully have a "highly skilled and experienced team". "Responses are immediate and it gets things done efficiently."
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 - Tier 1

Wind energy projects
Advising Meridian Energy on its wind energy generation projects throughout New Zealand. Meridian is New Zealand's largest electricity (and wind energy) generator. We also assist Meridian on a wide range of planning and policy related matters including maintaining consents and establishing a favourable policy framework.

Auckland Transport City Rail Link 
Assisting Auckland Transport on the City Rail Link designations and consenting process, including putting together the project team and scope of works, finalising applications for designations and resource consents and appearing as Counsel at both Council level and in Environment Court hearings. We have also advised on the Public Wor​ks Act process for this project.

Auckland Transport Penlink roading project
Advising Auckland Transport on the Penlink roading project. Penlink is a proposed road providing a link between State Highway 1 and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, north of Auckland. Penlink provides an alternative to the existing Whangaparoa Road, which is subject to significant congestion. The original designation is already in place. The current application seeks to amend the designation and resource consents and also involves applications for some new resource consents. 

Auckland Transport Mill Road designation
Advising Auckland Transport on designation for the NZ$245 million upgrade of nearly 9 kms of road between Redoubt Road in Manukau and Mill Road in Alfriston. The proposed road will provide network security and resilience, as well as addressing the high crash record of the poor quality arterial road connection that exists.

Tainui Group Holdings inland port at Ruakura
Assisting Tainui Group with its strategic projects – including its staged development of The Base retail centre in Te Rapa, Hamilton and its proposed inland port at Ruak​ura.

Advice to major ports
Advised both CentrePort and Port Marlborough on a wide range of consenting and strategic issues, including plan changes. We assisted CentrePort with its Harbour Quays masterplanning and development – a major and contentious new office precinct at Wellington.

Commercial and retail projects
Advising on significant new office developments, retail and other commercial projects in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and elsewhere throughout New Zealand. We also advise on due diligence for mergers and acquisitions.

Large scale land development initiatives
Advising the partners of the Southern Gateway Consortium on a proposed private plan change for some 150 ha of land bordering Prices Road and Puhinui Road in Manukau, Auckland. The proposal is to rezone the land from rural to business providing for light industrial and distribution/warehousing activities, along with an ancillary service centre.  

Acting for most of the key landowners in Wellington's northern growth area – which has been earmarked to accommodate most of the expansion of the urban area of Wellington City over the coming decades. This involves both consenting and plan advice at Council and Environment Court levels. In addition, we are involved in land development proposals around New Zealand, including residential development at Cape Kidnappers Station in the Hawke's Bay.

Contaminated sites
Acting for a wide range of parties on liability for contaminated sites issues, including some of New Zealand's heavyweight commercial and industrial interests and a range of regulatory bodies.

Mining and natural resources
Acting for significant mining and energy sector participants throughout New Zealand, including coal, oil and gas, iron ore and gold.

Chelsea Estate redevelopment
Advised New Zealand Sugar on the comprehensive re-zoning of 45 ha of prime land in Auckland's North Shore City. This project is New Zealand's first instance of scheduled industrial land and balanced the public expectations of heritage land with the continued industrial use of the land. We are currently advising on how the re-zoning is affected by the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Aquaculture
Advised Aotearoa Fisheries on acquisitions including the acquisition of Sanford's pacific oyster farms, encompassing 16 farms with a total of 128 ha​ in the North Island of New Zealand, the acquisition of the OceaNZ Blue business, and the acquisition of quota shares and annual catch entitlements owned by Antons Seafoods.

Policy instruments, plan changes, hearings and submissions
Advising clients on the legal aspects of the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan including advising Air New Zealand, Southern Consortium and New Zealand Sugar.

Providing policy and regulatory framework advice, specifically regarding Wellington's Draft Natural Resources Plan, the Proposed Hastings District Plan and the Christchurch Replacement District Plan.

Acting for Tainui Group Holdings on the proposed Hamilton City District Plan, and acted for it on the proposed Waikato Regional policy statement. This set the planning framework for integrated management in the Waikato Region, including the strategic direction for the Ruakura inland port and freight logistics hub.

Acting for Meridian Energy on a range of planning and policy matters including the proposed Northland Regional policy statement, the Wellington Regional policy statement, the Kaipara District Plan, and the Horizons One Plan.

Guidelines on the wine industry
Advised on the development of ground-breaking planning guidelines on the wine industry to enable a nationwide approach to resource management planning and assist district and regional councils to address winegrowing resource management issues.

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  • Andrew Beatson

    Partner Wellington
  • Natasha Garvan

    Senior Associate Auckland
  • Lisa McLennan

    Senior Associate Auckland