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 Council 

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.

Bill Cashmore, Deputy Mayor of Auckland 

Bill Cashmore joined Auckland Council at amalgamation in 2010 and was elected to the Franklin Local Board where he was appointed Deputy Chair.  In 2013 he was elected as a Governing Body Councillor and returned for the 2016 term to continue representing the Franklin Ward.  He was appointed to the position of Deputy Mayor of Auckland in 2016.  

Bill is Chair of the CCO Oversight Committee and the Rural Advisory Panel. He has been heavily involved with Auckland's future transport and housing planning for residents, visitors, and businesses. Bill Cashmore’s family has been farming in the shadow of the Hunua Ranges for generations. He has been actively involved in the community for many years, through Federated Farmers, school boards, and council advisory groups. 

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.

Aaron Hawkins, Mayor, Dunedin City

Aaron Hawkins in currently serving his first term as Mayor of Dunedin, after previously sitting for six years on the city council. During that time he took an active interest in planning matters, becoming a certified Commissioner and Chair under the RMA.

Mayor Hawkins sat on the panel hearing submissions, and making decisions, on the city’s full District Plan review (Second Generation District Plan). This was invaluable in building an understanding of planning both in policy and in practice.

At a broader level, he’s committed to the role of local government in building a safer climate future and delivering broader wellbeing outcomes for communities. Resource management and strategic planning decisions are critical to the success of this.

He is an elected representative of the Metro Sector on Local Government New Zealand’s National Council. 

Aileen Lawrie, Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Executive 

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. 

Arama Ngapo, South Waikato District Councilor 

Ko Tainui te waka 
Ko Moehau te maunga
Ko Tīkapa te moana 
Ko Te Pae o Hauraki te marae 
Ko Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Paoa ngā iwi  
Ko Ārama Ngāpō tōku ingoa 

Arama Ngapo proudly acknowledges her whakapapa Maori.  Arama is a second term Councillor with South Waikato District Councillor. She holds a variety of roles and is a current Resource Management Commissioner, Chairperson of the South Waikato District Council Corporate and Regulatory Committee and a member of the District Licensing committee and Te Maruata. Arama is an active member of her community and has held a Board of Trustee role with Te Wharekura o te Kaokaoroa o Patetere for over 10 years. Arama has been a lawyer with NL Lawyers-Barristers and Solicitors for over 20 years.  

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

James Palmer, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive 

James Palmer has been Chief Executive of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council since June 2017. Prior to working at Council, James was Deputy Secretary Sector Strategy at the Ministry for the Environment, with responsibility for the strategic direction of New Zealand’s environmental management system, state of environment reporting and oversight of the Environmental Protection Authority. James was Director Strategy at both the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry before that. Between 2005 and 2008 James served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. James was a member of the Resource Management Review Panel’s Natural and Rural Reference Group and Limits and Outcomes Working Group. He is currently a Director of the Sustainable Seas and Deep South National Science Challenges and a member of the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group, the Freshwater Implementation Group, and the Jobs for Nature Reference Group.   

Rachel Reese, Mayor of Nelson 

Elected Nelson’s first woman Mayor in 2013, and re-elected in 2016 and 2019, Mayor Rachel Reese has served on Nelson City Council for five terms, previously as a Councillor and Deputy Mayor. Prior to entering Local Government, Rachel operated a Resource Management Consultancy engaging with business and industry sectors across Te Tauihu, building strong links with community and environmental organisations, and actively involved in central and local government policy development. Rachel is serving her second term as a LGNZ National Council Board Member.   Rachel has represented the Local Government sector on several Ministerial Advisory Groups and holds the position of Deputy Chair of the Regional Sector.  She has been a Cawthron Trust Board Member since 2013, a member and associate member of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand since 2006, and member of the Resource Management Law Association for more than 15 years. 

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, Queenstown Lakes District Council Chief Executive 

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, Auckland Council Chief of Strategy 

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.

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.