Advisory groups for RM Reform

Engagement with key stakeholders is important to ensuring a workable, enduring resource management system. Find out about the different groups that have been established to advise the Government on the resource management system reforms.  

Māori Collectives

Two Māori collectives of five prominent Māori organisations have been formed to engage with the government on Māori rights and interests in freshwater and resource management reform.

The Te Tai Kaha Collective includes:

  • Kāhui Wai Māori
  • New Zealand Māori Council
  • Federation of Māori Authorities 

The FILG/WMT Collective includes:

  • Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group
  • Te Wai Māori Trust

The collectives advise the government on how best to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi in the designing of new environmental laws as part of the repeal and replacement of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). The collectives also contribute to shaping the systems for how Māori can engage and work with MfE.

Local Government Steering Group

A Local Government Steering Group has been established to advise the Government on the resource management system reforms.   

Local government are key partners in the delivery of the current and future resource management system. As such, it is crucial that local government plays a constructive and positive role in both the development and implementation of the new system.  

The national steering group includes 15 local government elected members and senior council executives. It is co-chaired by Hauraki Mayor, Toby Adams, and Ministry for the Environment Deputy Secretary, Janine Smith.  

The steering group meets monthly to test policy and help develop plans for implementation and transition to the new system. Beyond this, they also provide advice on the Ministry’s broader engagement with local government. 

Read about the Local Government Steering Group members below.  

See the Steering Group’s Terms of Reference here.  

Local Government Steering Group members

Toby Adams, Mayor of the Hauraki District

Toby Adams was elected to Council in 2010 as a Councillor for the Paeroa Ward, holding the office of Deputy Mayor for the 2016-19 term. In 2019 Toby was elected Mayor of the Hauraki District Council, and earlier this year he was elected Zone 2 Chair which represents 18 Councils. Toby owns his own electrical business in Paeroa which has been in operation for the last 15 years, is married and has two grown sons.

Sam Broughton, Mayor of Selwyn 

Sam was re-elected as Mayor of Waikirikiri Selwyn in 2019. He has been part of local government since he first became a councillor in 2010. With his rural and youth work background Sam has a strong environmental focus and has been instrumental in leading his council through the approval of its first formal climate change policy. Sam is also the leader of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, the chair of Takiwā Tuarima (Zone 5, the Local Government body representing eighteen Councils across the South Island, and one of twelve Mayors who sit on LGNZ National Council. In these roles Sam is pursuing his desire to see New Zealand prosper and to influence Government decision making surrounding issues that affect the daily lives of all those that live in Aotearoa.

Gareth Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Taupō District Council 

Gareth Green is the Chief Executive Officer of the Taupo District Council. He has held that position since 2016, but has been with the council for 17 years in various roles. Gareth is an environmental planner by background and over his career he has held roles in both central government and several local authorities in policy setting, consenting and monitoring and enforcement before embarking down the leadership path. Having grown up in the Taupō District, Gareth is honoured to be able to contribute to the future of the place that he and his young family call home.

Aileen Lawrie, Chief Executive, Thames Coromandel District Council

Aileen Lawrie has been the Chief Executive of Ōpōtiki District Council for 11 years. During this time she has driven many notable projects for the Ōpōtiki community including a multi-million dollar sewerage upgrade, the development and extension of the Mōtū trails (the seventh Great Ride to be completed under Nga Haerenga in 2012) and the award winning Ōpōtiki Harbour/Aquaculture Development project in partnership with Whakatōhea. Previous roles have been in regulatory, planning and management at Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Environment Canterbury, with a particular interest in coastal planning legislation. Aileen lives on a lifestyle block overlooking the stunning Ōhiwa harbour and has a weekend passion for propagating and planting native trees. 

Kataraina Belshaw O'Brien, Director Strategic Engagement, Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Kataraina Belshaw O’Brien (Ngāti Awa) has 20 years of local government experience.  Having worked in both District and Regional Councils.

She Co-Chair’s Te Urukahika (Regional Sector) Māori Special Interest Group (Ngā Kairapu) and is a member of the NZ Planning Institute.

Kataraina’s work career has a focus on Councils responsiveness to Māori and positive Taiao outcomes.

Kataraina is an actively involved in her hapū and Iwi environmental and cultural aspirations.

Stefanie Rixecker, Chief Executive, Environment Canterbury  

Dr. Stefanie Rixecker is Chief Executive at Environment Canterbury, the Canterbury Regional Council. She has worked in local government for the past five years and academia as Professor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lincoln University for 23 years. Her professional career has focused on environmental policy and management, including expertise in the Resource Management Act, institutional design and the intersection of science and culture in decision-making. 

Mike Theelen, Chief Executive, Queenstown Lakes District Council

Mike is Chief Executive of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, which is both New Zealand’s premier tourism destination and fastest growing district. Prior to taking up his term in January 2016, Mike was the GM Strategy & Planning for Christchurch City Council. He has a long career in local government, including stints in both Hamilton City and Hastings District Councils. Mike has a background in Town Planning and has a Bachelor of Town Planning from Auckland University and a Diploma in Social Science from Massey University. Mike has been involved in the planning, policy and strategy functions of local government in New Zealand over the last 30 years. As part of the Council’s Executive Leadership Team after the Christchurch earthquake, Mike led much of the strategic engagement with the Crown and its various agencies appointed to assist the rebuild of the city. 

Kitea Tipuna, Chief Executive Officer, Wairoa District Council 

Kitea Tipuna (Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa) has been with the Wairoa District Council for eight years and prior to being appointed as Chief Executive in 2020, he led a number of portfolios including communications, Māori relationships, community engagement, governance, policy, community development, economic development and tourism.

Kitea has also worked at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) for 15 years, working in various roles including Māori advancement, policy and strategic planning. Kitea’s professional career has had a particular focus on communications and public relations, Māori engagement and community development.

Megan Tyler, Chief of Strategy, Auckland Council

Having trained as a planner, Megan Tyler has had 20 years experience in local government. She currently leads the team responsible for delivering the strategies, planning and internal and external communications for Auckland. This includes: 

  • strategies such as the Auckland Plan, Auckland City Centre Masterplan and sustainability
  • expertise, planning, and monitoring for all aspects of our environment and infrastructure
  • creation of social and community policy
  • advocating for great urban form outcomes as Auckland developments happen
  • providing economic expertise to challenge our thinking
  • thinking through co-design capability and social entrepreneurship
  • market research, media and communications.

Councillor Bridget Bell, Manawatū District Council

Councillor Iaean Cranwell, Environment Canterbury

Dan Gordon, Mayor of Waimakariri District

Prior to being elected Mayor of Waimakariri District in 2019, Dan had 15 years on the Council and therefore has an in-depth knowledge of local democracy and how this can solve local issues. With his extensive understanding of rural and urban communities he believes in creating strong connections between all residents and working in these communities to create positive change. 

In his role as Mayor, Dan participates in the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, is Deputy Chair of the Greater Christchurch Partnership, member of the Regional Land Transport Committee and chairs the Mayoral Forum Climate Change Steering Group and the Regional Road Safety Working Group. These are all aspects of local democratic machinery that improve the greater Christchurch area. He was recently elected as Chair of Local Government New Zealand’s Zone 5, and to its National Council.

Waimakariri is one of the fastest-growing areas in New Zealand and has been on a trajectory of consistent and significant growth since the Canterbury earthquakes. The big challenge is balancing a growing population while making sure there is a healthy environment, supportive community, resilient infrastructure and welcoming conditions for business and new residents.

Councillor Toi Kai Rākau Iti, Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Councillor Rachel Keedwell, Chair, Horizons Regional Council

This is Rachel Keedwell’s fourth term as a Horizons regional councillor and her second term as the chair of council. She has a broad skills base with expertise within the environmental aspects of regional council business. Rachel has a PhD in ecology and worked as an ecological consultant for several years before spending 15 years running a business in the construction industry with her husband. She is a certified RMA hearings commissioner. 

As chair of Horizons in her first term, her focus was strongly on the future and their ability as a region to be both resilient and adaptable to meet all the challenges that are coming their way. Rachel has also focussed on building genuine relationships with iwi and hapū across the region and put in place a range of co-governance arrangements. In her second term as chair, she will be looking to strengthen these essential relationships and improve upon their initiatives and readiness to help make a difference for and within their region, as they face new challenges.

Out of all the government reforms, the RMA reforms are arguably the most significant challenge facing local government. It is essential that the government understands the implications of these reforms from the perspective of regional councils, who will in large part be responsible for implementing the reforms. Rachel believes that she can bring this perspective to the table and make a valuable contribution to ensuring we get the best possible outcomes.

Tim King, Mayor of Tasman District

Tim King has been involved in local body politics since 1998 when he was first elected to Tasman District Council. In 2001 he became the Deputy Mayor, a position he held until 2019 when he put his hand up for the Mayoral role.

During his time at the Council Tim has chaired the Council’s Environment and Planning Committee which oversees the Council’s regulatory programme, services, and activities.

Tim is a past Director of Port Nelson Limited and is currently a Trustee of the Cawthron Institute, a Director of Chatham Island Ports Ltd and a member of the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board.

Glyn Lewers, Mayor of Queenstown-Lakes District

Glyn Lewers is the newly elected Mayor of the Queenstown Lakes District. Prior to becoming the Mayor, he served a term as a Councillor. While a Councillor, Glyn sat on the following committees:

  • Audit and Risk
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Strategy
  • Community Services.

As Mayor, Glyn’s main areas of focus are addressing the social infrastructure needs of the community. He aims to do this through building on key relationships with local iwi and developing an overarching plan to address the needs of both locals and visitors.

Glyn comes from an engineering background and holds a degree in Engineering from the University of Southern Queensland and a Bachelor of Surveying from the University of Otago. At 19 he trained with the Royal New Zealand Airforce.

Outside of his Mayoral life, Glyn is a Junior Rugby Coach for the Wakatipu High School U14s.

Paula Southgate, Mayor of Hamilton

Strategic Planning Reform Board

The Strategic Planning Reform Board is a formal interdepartmental executive board established under the Public Service Act to oversee the development of the proposed Spatial Planning Act (SPA), one of three laws the government intends to enact as part of the resource management system reforms. 

The membership of the new board includes chief executives for the Ministries for the Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Transport, Internal Affairs, Conservation and the Treasury.   

The Board provides strong collective public-sector ownership of the development of the proposed Act, which includes decision-making to achieve outcomes across a number of portfolios. The collaborative approach is intended to optimise the quality of input and outcomes in the development of the Act. 

The Board’s Executive Director is Mark Vink who came to the role from Treasury where he worked across a broad range of policy areas including RMA reform in 2014/15 and, more recently, led Treasury’s COVID Economic Response Directorate. The Deputy Executive Director is Jane White who previously managed Spatial Planning Act policy development at the Ministry for the Environment.