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James Winchester



P+64 4 924 3503

M+64 21 303 700

James Winchester

James is a partner in the firm's local government and environment group. His primary area of practice is advising on resource management and environmental law, with a particular focus on energy, utilities, and infrastructure projects.

James has extensive advocacy experience before local authorities and the Environment Court on resource management and environmental matters, and has successfully appeared in a number of leading environmental and judicial review proceedings in the High Court and Court of Appeal. He is one of New Zealand’s foremost experts in offshore marine consenting.

James also has expertise in strategic growth planning, environmental due diligence, judicial review, financial contributions, subdivision, roading, historic places, contaminated sites, environmental enforcement, and public works issues.

  • Best Lawyers - Government Practice 2021 - NZ Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers - Environmental Law 2020-2021 - Leading Lawyer
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Environment & Resource Management 2021 - Leading Lawyer
  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Environment/Projects & Resource Management 2016 - Recommended Lawyer
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Energy & Natural Resources 2016 - Recommended Lawyer

Examples of Work

  • Proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan - acting for Christchurch City Council on fast-tracked and bespoke plan review and hearing process under an Order in Council authorised by earthquake recovery legislation
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu - advising on complex water allocation and quality issues relating to the Southland and Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plans, including Environment Court appeals
  • OMV NZ - advising on EEZ Act marine consent and compliance issues, various offshore oil and gas production and exploration programmes, including successfully defending judicial review proceedings relating to Great South Basin exploration programme
  • Porirua City Council - strategic legal advice regarding review of the Council’s district plan, the $1.5 billion Porirua East regeneration projects, and advising on the streamlined plan process for the 384ha Plimmerton Farm greenfield urban rezoning
  • Transpower North Island Grid Upgrade Project - an $824 million project to obtain approvals for a new 186 km overhead transmission line, underground cables, and substations, following call-in by the Minister for the Environment as a project of national significance
  • Queenstown Lakes District Council - advising on its district plan review
  • BP Oil New Zealand - obtaining resource consents for new bulk fuel storage terminals at Lower Hutt and Lyttelton, and for new service station developments around the country
  • Canterbury earthquakes - advising on emergency powers and recovery planning under earthquake recovery legislation
  • Chatham Rock Phosphate - application for marine consent under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 for mining of rock phosphate from the seabed of the Chatham Rise
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu - acting for TRoNT in securing an allocation of 11 cumecs of water for cultural purposes in the lower Waitaki River
  • Taupō District Council - advising on various strategic planning projects including town centre, commercial, and industrial plan changes and resulting Environment Court litigation
  • Kapiti Western Link Road and East Taupō Arterial Road - designations for major roading projects, including Environment Court and High Court litigation
  • Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy project - implementation of a 35 year plan for managing urban growth, infrastructure, and land use in greater Christchurch
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) - counsel on various wind farm appeals
  • KiwiRail - litigation and environmental consenting issues relating to ferry wash from its Cook Strait ferries
  • New Plymouth District Council - resource consents for upgrades to New Plymouth wastewater treatment plant and coastal permits for ocean outfalls

Other Credentials

  • Brookers Resource Management - Contributing author
  • Resource Management Law Association - Member