Derek McLachlan


Derek specialises in resource management and environmental law and has experience representing clients in both Local Government and Environment Court jurisdictions. He provides advice to a broad range of clients, including private developers, insurance agencies and local councils.

Derek’s advises on variety of regulatory matters, including district plan changes, resource consenting and compliance issues. He has been heavily involved in the Dunedin, Queenstown and Selwyn district plan reviews, primarily acting for landowner groups seeking rezoning of their land.

Derek is currently on parental leave.

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He is particularly interested in issues concerning freshwater quality and efficient utilisation of resources. His background in agriculture means he understands the equilibrium to be managed between achieving environmental outcomes and economic feasibility.

Derek started his career in a mid-sized law firm in Otago before locating to Duncan Cotterill’s Nelson office in 2021. His experience and industry connections mean he is well placed to receive instructions throughout the South Island.

Recent highlights

  • District plan review: 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.
  • Private plan change: Advising clients on private plan change application seeking to rezone of land from rural to residential within the Selwyn District.
  • Resource consent application: 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.
  • Compliance – Emissions Trading Scheme: Advising landowners and insurance agencies in relation to compliance with the Emissions Trading Scheme, in particular responsibilities in relation to pre-1990 forest land.
  • Enforcement & Compliance: Representing client(s) in an Environment Court enforcement proceeding concerning boundaries of consented works.

Derek's insights

Insurance law insights featured in GILC Risk Radar report 2024

24 May 2024

Limitation of liability clauses upheld by the High Court

18 April 2024

The future of the Resource Management Act

11 April 2024

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