Franks Ogilvie welcomes new Senior Consultant, Brigitte Morten, to the team.

Brigitte brings intense experience of how government actually works, in distinction to how outsiders think it might work or should work.

She is a regular commentator for RNZ, NBR and NewsHub. She has a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington, a Masters of Law from the Australian National University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Counter Terrorism from the Interdisciplinary Centre (Herzliya, Israel).

Brigitte has been a Senior Ministerial Advisor in the New Zealand Government and spent years working across state and federal politics in Australia. She understands the levers that work, and don’t work, in the machinery of government.

‘I can’t think of any young New Zealand consultant with her kind of  deep practical understanding of how voter campaigns work. She has accumulated knowledge of what really motivates leaders who have to sustain democratic support’ says Franks Ogilvie Principal, Stephen Franks.

‘We are excited to have Brigitte as part of the team. She brings to us for our clients unique insights into issue advocacy and strategic communications,’ says Franks Ogilvie Principal, Rob Ogilvie.


Christie Marceau murder

Coroner has made major recommendations after the inquest into the death of Christie Marceau. Nikki Pender acted for the Marceau family. Nikki told Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams that a case like this could happen again. To hear the interview click here.

Failed by the justice system

Earlier this year a Coroner ruled that the actions of two teenage brothers were “the most significant factor” in 15-year-old Stephen Dudley’s death – yet the police have refused to reinstate the manslaughter charge. Stephen’s parents spoke exclusively to the Weekend Herald (click here to read).

Nikki Pender represented the Dudleys in the Coroner’s Court and after the findings wrote to the Solicitor General requesting a review of the criminal process.

To read the response from Crown Law click here.

566 applications made under Marine and Coastal Area (Tukutai Moana) Act

Franks Ogilvie are acting for a client who is directly affected by some of the hundreds of applications made under the Marine and Coastal Area (Tukutai Moana) Act (MACA Act). The client depends on a relatively small geographical stretch of the marine and coastal area, but has been forced to file numerous appearances to protect its interests against a multitude of applications over that area.

186 applications have been made by iwi, hapu and whanau groups to the High Court and about 380 directly to the Crown. These are applications for “protected customary rights” orders (such as for collecting stones or other natural resources in an area) or “customary marine title” orders (which can include rights to say yes or no to resource consent applications, and rights to restrict access in an area protected by wahi tapu.) While applicants have access to public funding, interested parties, like our client, do not.

Even though the applications may take years to be go through the system, those applying for resource consents or permits are required under section 62(3) to notify every applicant and seek their views if the proposed activity may affect the orders the MACA applicant is seeking. This statutory condition will apply until every related application has been determined, regardless of merit.

As there are so many overlapping MACA applications with no central repository it will be difficult for the average person to know where to start. How do you find out which MACA applications are relevant? Do you need to examine each one to determine what the application is about? Who do you contact? What if they don’t give their views within a reasonable time? How much do you pay? What will the Council do if you fail to seek the views and the MACA applicant objects? All these issues are yet to play out but are likely to be a huge burden to anyone needing a resource consent or permit or approval (new or renewing) anywhere in the marine and coastal areas subject to the applications. Click here and here for media articles on this.

Killer granted supervised leave from ward

Christie Marceau’s killer is being allowed to leave the secure mental health clinic where he is being housed, just six years after his deadly attack. Because these are escorted visits prior notice to registered victims does not have to be given. Chand was escorted, so that means the Marceaus were not told. Their lawyer, Nikki Pender, wants a law change. To read more click here and here.

Nikki Pender and Pam McMillan represented Tracey and Brian Marceau at the Coroner’s inquest in June this year. The Coroner has yet to report her findings.

Judicial review of name suppression decision

Nikki Pender acted for Kimberley Cosci, a young woman who applied for judicial review to lift suppression of her and her abuser’s names. In a District Court case in 2016 the abuser pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting a child under 12 and was sentenced to nine months’ home detention. He was also granted permanent name suppression. Upset with the ruling, Kimberley sought advice. Nikki Pender, who has worked on similar cases previously, successfully argued that both name suppression orders should be quashed. Kimberley was then able to tell her story. Read the NZ Herald article here.

Democracy Action win in Auckland Unitary Plan appeal

Pam McMillan acted for Democracy Action Incorporated, an interested party, in an appeal by the Independent Maori Statutory Board against the Auckland Council’s decision to delete sites of value for mana whenua (SVMW) from the Unitary Plan.  Democracy Action argued the SVMW overlay imposed a considerable burden on some 18,000 Auckland property owners who were suddenly required to pay up to 13 iwi for cultural impact assessments for what could be very minor works on their properties. Justice Wylie dismissed the appeal and found the Council did not err in law in deciding to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to delete the SVMW overlay. In addition, the Court found that, having regard to the evidence before the Panel, the Panel did not err in law by concluding that the Council’s section 32 evaluation, prepared prior to notification of the PAUP, did not provide an adequate basis for the introduction of the SVMW. The decision is available here (Independent Maori Statutory Board v Auckland Council [2017] NZHC 356 (7 March 2017) [2017] NZRMA 195).

Resource Legislation Amendment Act & iwi participation

Mana Whakahono a Rohe (MWR) provisions are among the controversial law changes that delayed the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. They give iwi rights to demand more say in planning, monitoring and possibly consenting under the Resource Management Act 1991. The MWR provisions are now in force. Franks Ogilvie’s Stephen Franks and Pam McMillan give a practical outline of what they could mean. Read the article here.