Litigation and Policy Support

We offer specialist input through technical inputs into policy development, and expert advice to Hearings, Boards of Enquiry, and Environment Court on behalf of private and public sector clients.

Much of our specialist work centres on advice around best practice or practical implementation of the effects management hierarchy, in particular how biodiversity offsetting should be incorporated into policy or how such policies should be implemented on the ground.

Our track record in this field speaks for itself. We are usually the first port of call for many of New Zealand’s leading RMA barristers and planners when faced with potential consenting risk around biodiversity management. Our involvement includes preparation of expert evidence, mediation and expert caucusing. We have presented evidence on behalf of DOC, Councils and across the commercial sector, including mining, quarrying, land development, water storage and water supply, roading and tourism.

Our Projects

  • NZ Transport Agency – lead author for the preparation of national guidance on biodiversity offsetting.
  • Local Government New Zealand – senior author for the preparation of national guidance on offsetting under the RMA, and subsequent 11-city New Zealand tour to present day-long workshops to socialise the guidance to across sector and across-Council audiences. “Maseyk F, Ussher GT, Kessels G, Christensen M, and Brown M. 2018. Biodiversity offsetting under the Resource Management Act: a guidance document. Contract number TCG 2017/076. Unpublished report prepared for the Regional Council Biodiversity Working Group, Wellington. September 2018”.
  • Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand – senior author on good practice ecological effects assessment under the RMA. “Roper-Lindsay, J., Fuller S.A., Hooson, S., Sanders, M.D., Ussher, G.T. 2018. Ecological impact assessment. EIANZ guidelines for use in New Zealand: terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. 2nd edition”.
  • Department of Conservation – 18-month secondment to biodiversity offsetting research programme.
  • Nelson Plan – policy analysis and advice regarding Esplanade Reserve setbacks
  • Wellington Regional Council – technical advice via workshop to across-Council team (legal, policy, planning, ecology, consenting) regarding biodiversity offsetting in practice relative to regional plan provisions.
  • Buller District Council and West Coast Regional Council – development of Regional Policy Statement sections on biodiversity offsetting, including extensive mediation across stakeholders as part of the drafting process.
  • Electricity Generators Group – technical review of matters arising from the draft NPS Indigenous Biodiversity
  • Expert witness appearing in at least 20 Council Hearings, 10 Environment Court proceedings, and one Board of Enquiry proceeding.


0800 762 326