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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. 

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

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Environment & Resource Management 2020 - Leading Lawyer
  • Asia Pacific Legal 500 Environment/Projects & Resource Management 2016 - Recommended Lawyer
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific Energy & Natural Resources 2015 – 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
  • 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 - advising on water allocation and management issues relating to the Waikati catchment and the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan
  • Kapiti Western Link Road and East Taupo Arterial Road - designations for major roading projects, including Environment Court and High Court litigation
  • OMV NZ - advising on EEZ Act marine consent and compliance issues for Maari and Whiu offshore production and exploration wells
  • 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
  • Masterfoods - development of a greenfields manufacturing facility near Wanganui
  • 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
  • Regular conference and seminar presenter on Resource Management Act issues for New Zealand Planning Institute, Ministry for the Environment roadshows, and New Zealand Petroleum Conference