Winter 2014

Winter is proving to be a rather mellow affair, at least temperature wise.

I was surfing in a summer wet suit until recently, while the ski fields in the south cross their fingers for snow. However, things are always relative. It is also winter in Brazil, where I am told anywhere between 17 and 27 degrees can be considered cold. More on Brazil later.

This newsletter covers:

  • The offshore iron sand mining consent refusal – legal counsel for the seafood industry
  • Further submissions on the Auckland Unitary Plan
  • Recent publications and up-coming publications
  • Brazil

Trans-Tasman Resources Offshore Iron Sand Mining Consent Refused

Trans-Tasman Resources Offshore Iron Sand Mining Consent Refused
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) delivered its decision this week refusing Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) application to annually mine 50 million tons of iron sand within the South Taranaki Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This decision comes after the first publicly notified hearing for resource development under New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

I was instructed by maritime lawyers, Dawson & Associates, to act as lead counsel for the New Zealand seafood industry. The seafood industry was concerned with the degree of uncertainty surrounding the potential effects of TTR’s proposal on primary production and existing commercial fishing interests.

In the summary of its decision the EPA states that:

“As required, we have addressed the effects of the proposal on the environment and on existing interests, using what we have determined is the best available information. In doing so, we have found that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the scale of those effects based on the information we had before us. In particular, these related to primary productivity and benthic effects and consequent ecosystem effects as well as the impacts on existing interests notably iwi and fishing interests.”

Commenting on the decision, Jeremy Helson, CEO of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, stated:

“There just wasn’t sufficient information from TTR to provide an assurance that their mining wasn’t going to have effects on the marine environment that would harm fish populations and the wider seafood industry.”

For a full copy of the decision click here

Further submissions on the Auckland Unitary Plan

Auckland Council publicly notified its summary of submissions on the Auckland Unitary Plan on 11 June 2014.

The period for lodging further submissions, either in support or opposition to original submissions, is from 11 June 2014 to 5pm on 22 July 2014.

To view all submissions and the Council’s report click here

Recent publications and forthcoming publications

Publications this year have focused on oil and gas development within New Zealand’s EEZ. This includes:

Makgill, R., ‘Sounding Out Riches and Risk: Approaching Environmental regulation of Oil and Gas within New Zealand’s EEZ’ in Exploration and Development within the EEZ – offshore oil and gas (New Zealand Law Society, Wellington 2014) 1 to 34.

Makgill, R., ‘Oil and Gas in the Exclusive Economic Zone’, (2014) April Resource Management Journal 29 to 31.

Forthcoming publications include a new chapter on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012, with James Gardner-Hopkins (Partner, Russell McVeagh), for the Thomson Reuters DSL Environmental Handbook.

I will also be updating my existing chapter on the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 in the Environmental Handbook.


This is to let you know that I will be in Brazil between 30 June and 23 July 2014.

I will be looking at oil and gas development and regulation while in Brazil. It is purely coincidental that this trip happens to coincide with the World Cup. My wife, who is Brazilian, is presently in Sao Paulo. This is a city of roughly 20 million people. I am told the building vibrated every time Brazil scored in the opening game.

I will be checking my email while I am away. But for any urgent matter please contact our office manager Susie Peacock on 09 815 6570 or