Derek McLachlan


I specialise in resource management and environmental law and have experience representing clients in both Local Government and Environment Court jurisdictions. I provide advice to a broad range of clients, including private developers, insurance agencies and local councils.

I advise on a variety of regulatory matters, including district plan changes, resource consenting and compliance issues. I have been heavily involved in the Dunedin, Queenstown and Selwyn district plan reviews, primarily acting for landowner groups seeking rezoning of their land. 

I am particularly interested in issues concerning freshwater quality and efficient utilisation of resources. My background in agriculture means I understand the equilibrium to be managed between achieving environmental outcomes and economic feasibility. 

I started my career in a mid-sized law firm in Otago before locating to Duncan Cotterill’s Nelson office in 2021. My experience and industry connections mean I am well placed to receive instructions throughout the South Island. 

Recent examples of work include:

  • Advising landowner groups on a range of district plan review matters, including rezoning of land from rural to residential. The matter(s) raise complex legal issues concerning overlap between the District Plan, and the National Policy Statements on Freshwater Management and Highly Productive Land. 
  • Advising clients on private plan change application seeking to rezone of land from rural to residential within the Selwyn District. 
  • Providing advice on a resource consent application to continue discharging treated biosolids to Rabbit Island, Nelson. The file addresses a variety of environmental issues, including coastal environment and groundwater quality. 
  • Advising landowners and insurance agencies in relation to compliance with the Emissions Trading Scheme, in particular responsibilities in relation to pre-1990 forest land. 
  • Representing client(s) in an Environment Court enforcement proceeding concerning boundaries of consented works;