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The Panel

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The Panel is chaired by The Honourable Sir John Hansen, a former High Court Judge.  In addition to Sir John, the Panel Members are Environment Judge John Hassan (Deputy Chairperson), The Honourable Lester Chisholm, Sarah Dawson, Jane Huria, Dr Phil Mitchell, John Sax, John Illingsworth (alternate), Martin Udale (alternate), Alec Neill (alternate), Gerard Willis (alternate) and Stephen Daysh (alternate). Details of the Chairperson and Panel Members can be found below.

The Chairperson was appointed pursuant to Clause 8 (3) of the Canterbury Earthquake (Christchurch Replacement District Plan) Order 2014.  The Panel Members were appointed, pursuant to Clause 8 of the Order, on 7th October 2014 by the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation. The Panel is independent of Christchurch City Council.

View the Order in Council here.

View the Panel’s Terms of Reference here.

View the Panel’s Register of Interests here.

The principal functions of the Panel are to hold hearings on submissions received on the Christchurch Replacement District Plan Proposals and to make decisions on those Proposals. The Panel has wide powers to amend or reject the Council’s Proposals and to direct the preparation of new proposals where appropriate.

The Panel’s Terms of Reference specify four matters of priority on which the Panel must make decisions no later than 28 February 2015. Those four priority matters are:

  1. Strategic Directions and Strategic Outcomes;
  2. Temporary Activities Related to Earthquake Recovery (such as house-lifting activities);
  3. Repair and Rebuild of Multi-Unit Residential Complexes;
  4. Rezoning for Exemplar Housing Areas under Action 8 of the Land Use Recovery Plan (North Halswell) that are publicly notified in the Stage One proposals.

The Panel decisions relating to the four priority matters were issued on 26 February 2015. To view the decisions, click here.

The Terms of Reference also specify five additional priority matters that are to be heard and decided early (but not necessarily by 28 February 2015):

  1. Chapter 10: Designations
  2. Chapter 5: Natural Hazards (Part)
  3. Chapter 14: Residential (Part)
  4. Chapter 15: Commercial (Part),

as well as any other discrete matter that is identified by the Panel resulting from the submissions process as presenting an impediment to earthquake recovery. The hearings for Stage One Proposals were scheduled accordingly.

The Panel is supported by an Independent Secretariat. The Executive Director of the Independent Secretariat is Victoria Henstock.

Panel Members

Sir John Hansen (Chairperson)

Sir John Hansen is a former Judge of the High Court of New Zealand. He was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 1995 and retired from the Bench in 2008. In 2008 Sir John was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the judiciary.

He is Chairman of the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal Commission and of the Legal Services Agency Board. Sir John was the Chair of the Board of Inquiry for the MacKays Crossing to Peka Peka Expressway Proposal in 2012, and is the Convenor of the Canterbury Earthquake Review Panel, established under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011.

The Honourable Lester Chisholm

After many years as a partner in the Napier law firm, Willis Toomey Robinson, the Honourable Lester Chisholm became a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand in 1996. He retired from the Bench in 2013 and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014.

Following retirement Lester was chairman of the Ruataniwha Board of Inquiry which considered changes to the Hawkes Bay Regional Resource Management Plan and applications for consent to the Ruataniwha dam. In 2014 he conducted a Government Inquiry into allegations concerning the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Judith Collins

Environment Judge John Hassan

Judge John Hassan was appointed as an Environment Judge in 2013 and is based in Christchurch. Judge Hassan was a partner in Chapman Tripp specialising in resource management and environmental law. He was previously in-house solicitor for the Ministry of Works and Development (1985-88) and the Ministry for the Environment (1988-91), where he was principal legal adviser during the development of the Resource Management Act.

In 2009 he was appointed as a panel member by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to audit and advise on the drafting of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2009 and he was a reference group member advising the Environment Minister on reform proposals in 2011.

As well as law reform, he has represented government agencies, industry, local government and community groups before Councils, the Environment Court, Boards of Inquiry and the High Court in relation to major infrastructure works, plan changes and consent and appeal hearings. He is the founding co-author of Brookers Resource Management.

Ms Sarah Dawson

Ms Sarah Dawson has worked in planning and resource management since 1977, primarily as a consultant to clients including local, regional and central government; energy, roading, waste management and other infrastructure agencies / companies; primary industry (irrigation, aquaculture and mining/quarrying); land development companies; and private individuals.

Ms Dawson has extensive experience in District and Regional policy and plan preparation, evaluation and implementation, as well as with the consenting process. This ranges from providing strategic planning advice, undertaking scoping, constraints and alternatives investigations, policy and rule drafting, to assessing the environmental and planning feasibility of proposals.

Ms Jane Huria

Ms Jane Huria is the Director of HSR Governance a consultancy based in Christchurch that provides services in relation to strategy, project management, organisation development and governance. Ms Huria has broad-based commercial experience including law, insurance, market research and the financial markets. Directorships in the electricity, technology, business development, education, insurance, property development, agribusiness, seafood marketing, and sport and recreation sectors have resulted in many years of governance and organisation development experience.

Ms Huria is Ngai Tahu and affiliates to Ngai Tuahuriri. She is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, and, in addition to her work consulting with and serving on boards, Ms Huria has written and delivers public and tailored governance training for the Institute. Ms Huria also undertakes corporate governance assignments internationally for the Washington-based Global Corporate Governance Forum (part funded by the World Bank). Ms Huria has previously worked in the field of governance throughout the Commonwealth for the Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance (funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat).

Dr Phil Mitchell

Dr Phil Mitchell is a Director (and the founder) of the environmental consulting practice Mitchell Partnerships Limited. He has 30 years’ experience of providing strategic environmental advice to both the private and public sectors, and has an in-depth knowledge of New Zealand’s environmental legislation and its implementation.

He specialises in the strategic planning and management of consent acquisition for significant development projects, and is currently advising many of the country’s leading enterprises. Dr Mitchell is also an experienced and skilled expert witness and has acted as a hearings commissioner and hearings chair on numerous occasions.

He is a skilled facilitator who has considerable experience in establishing and managing consultation processes aimed at eliminating conflict and developing constructive working relationships. He has been a member of two of the Government’s Resource Management Act Technical Advisory Groups, the more recent of which was to recommend amendments to sections 6 and 7 of the Resource Management Act.

​Mr John Sax

John Sax founded the Southpark Group of companies which comprises approximately 60 companies for which he acts as Executive Director. Southpark Corporation is one of Auckland’s largest industrial landowners and has been responsible for the re-development of sites such as the former Affco, Hellaby Works, Shortland Works, Taniwha Works, Pikes Point, Roscommon Quarries, Kensington Park housing project in Orewa and more recently, Waterloo Business Park in Christchurch.

John is a promoter and champion of caring communities and for making New Zealand a better place for all children. He has spent many years involved in child and youth development particularly in lower socio-economic areas. Mr Sax founded, and still chairs, the ’For the Sake of our Children Trust’. The Trust’s vision is “to see a nation where every child is safe from harm; has a sense of belonging, of feeling loved and valued; has access to the basics to engage fully in life and realise their own unique potential”. Mr Sax also created the internationally-acclaimed Treetops Lodge and Estate, set in a wilderness park in Rotorua – an environment that protects and reflects the original indigenous forest including 800 year-old giant trees.

Mr Sax is currently progressing the development of a 1,600-house residential housing project in Mangere (Auckland) incorporating ‘wrap-around’ community supports such as a ‘wellness centre’, family centre employment centre and educational facilities on a 15-hectare former market garden site which now has ‘special housing area’ status.

Mr John Illingsworth (alternate)

John Illingsworth is a professional engineer and businessman. John was appointed to the Environment Court in June 2013 as a Deputy Commissioner. Prior to joining the Court, John spent 40 years in the fields of civil consultancy, civil contracting, management and construction. Previously, John worked for Fletcher Building in senior roles including General Manager Winstone Aggregates, General Manager Hume Industries and Chief Executive of the Concrete Industries Sector. Industry roles include membership of the Contractors Federation, the Institute of Quarrying and as President of the Aggregates Association. In 2003, John left Fletcher Building and went into business in the areas of contracting, aquaculture, sand processing, land development and housing.

Mr Martin Udale (alternate)

Martin has more than 30 years experience in commercial and residential property development and investment in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Before moving to New Zealand in 2003, Martin spent 22 years working in the Australian property markets holding senior roles in a number of organisations.

From 2003 – 2009 Martin led McConnell Property Limited as CEO. Since stepping down from that role he has pursued his interests in the wider aspects of urban development with a particular interest in regeneration and transformation.

He has been a regular advisor to both local and central government on a range of urban development matters.

Martin holds a number of board and governance roles including inaugural Chair and current Director of the Tamaki Redevelopment Company; a Member of the Council of Unitec Institute of Technology and Chair of its Property Committee; and a Director of Waikato Innovation Park. He is a Member of the Property Council of New Zealand Auckland Executive and is Chair of its residential committee.

Mr Alec Neill (alternate)

Alec Neill is a solicitor and a registered RMA Commissioner. He was recently a member of the Board of Inquiry, which heard and determined the Tukituki Catchment Proposal, being a plan change and resource consent application in the Hawkes Bay.

Alec has had an extensive involvement with the Resource Management Act during the past 25 years. He was chair of Parliament’s Environment Select Committee that oversaw the passing of the Resource Management Act in 1991. He spent 7 years as an elected councillor with Environment Canterbury and was co-chair of the Regulations Hearing Committee.

Alec was a foundation member of, and Environment Canterbury appointee, on the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy. Alec has previously been a trustee on the Canterbury Community Trust and a director of SBS Bank.

Mr Gerard Willis (alternate)

Gerard Willis is founder and director of environmental consulting practice Enfocus Limited. He has 25 years experience in planning and resource management having worked in local government, central government and private practice.

Mr Willis has considerable background in the Resource Management Act and has been a regular adviser to both central and local government on various amendments to the Act, the preparation of official guidance on implementation, and in the development of national policy statements and national environmental standards.

In addition to extensive experience in law and policy reform, Mr Willis has represented clients in planning fora around New Zealand offering particular expertise in water management, biodiversity, coastal management, natural hazards and urban growth.  He regularly advises local government clients on the development of regional policy statements and plans.  In 2011 Mr Willis advised the Royal Commission on the Christchurch Earthquakes on planning matters.

Mr Stephen Daysh (alternate)

Mr Stephen Daysh is a Napier based Director of Environmental Management Services Limited, a specilast environmental planning and project management firm which he founded in 1994. Before this he had over ten years public sector planning experience.

Mr Daysh is an Independent Commissioner Chair and in this forum has dealt with a variety of resource management and planning issues.  He specialises in RMA consent processes for energy and infrastructure facilities and urban developments as well as community consultation and District and Regional Plan analysis.

Mr Daysh has experience as the applicants Project Manager/Lead Consultant for four projects of national significance heard by Boards of Inquiry – the Te Mihi and Tauhara II Geothermal Power Stations, Hauāuru Mā Raki Windfarm and the Tukituki Catchment Proposal/Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme Projects.