+64 7 839 4771

Bridget Parham

Bridget Parham


To make an appointment, please contact Carolyn Jensen carolyn.jensen@tompkinswake.co.nz

Qualifications : LLB (First Class Hons), University of Waikato.


Recommended Lawyer for Bios 2025    The Legal 500 Recommended Lawyer 2048
Recommended Lawyer 2022 Legal 512

With more than 20 years’ experience practicing law, Bridget specialises in resource management, environmental and local government law. She advises local authorities and private clients on a wide range of matters including resource consent applications, district plan reviews, plan changes, designations and compliance and enforcement proceedings. She also advises on a range of statutes under which local authorities operate. Bridget has significant experience in plan development, the rural environment, subdivisions and urban growth and infrastructure matters.

Bridget is a trusted advisor to both senior executive and elected members of significant local authorities and to independent hearing panels. In 2020, Bridget advised an independent hearing panel on its legal ability to conduct virtual hearings during Covid-19 lockdown, prior to the 2020 legislation being passed. It was the first hearing panel to do so.

Bridget became a partner in 2014. She is a member of the Resource Management Law Association and an associate member of Taituarā.

Bridget is noted in The Legal 500 for Asia Pacific as a Recommended Lawyer.

Areas of expertise

  • Bylaws and Policies
  • Environmental Due Diligence
  • Official Information (LGOIMA)
  • Plan Changes, Variations and Plan Reviews
  • Resource Consents
  • Resource Management Act (RMA)
  • Rural Environmental Issues
  • Urban Planning and Development
  • Local Government Advisory
  • Council Hearings
  • Appeal Hearings
  • Board of Inquiry Hearings
  • Dispute Resolution and Mediation
  • RMA Compliance and Enforcement

Client feedback:

  • “Bridget Parham is an expert in her field. She provides excellent written work – very clear and logical, making it easy to understand. She also provides excellent verbal direction and advice – often on the spot or off the cuff without any research. She knows the basics for resource consents inside out and is very organised when it comes to appeal proceedings.” The Legal 500, 2020

Other credentials

  • Member of the Association for Resource Management Practitioners
  • Associate member of New Zealand Society of Local Government Managers
  • Recommended Lawyer, Projects and Resource Management (including Environment), The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024


  • Bridget is currently acting for the Waikato District Council on its district plan review. She has advised Council throughout the First Schedule process, from pre-notification, notification, procedural and substantive hearings and all associated advice.

  • Sleepyhead Estate: Bridget represented the Waikato District Council in relation to Sleepyhead’s $1 billion proposal to rezone 178 ha of land at Ohinewai to develop industrial, business and residential precincts. The Independent Commissioners issued its decision on 24 May 2021 approving the rezoning. The decision is currently open for appeal.

  • Bridget was lead counsel for both the Waikato Regional Council and Waikato District Council on a suite of applications for a municipal solid waste landfill at Huntly. The Environment Court upheld the consents, issuing four separate decisions. This is the leading decision on the application of the Vison and Strategy for the Waikato River on resource consent applications.

  • Bridget advised a large farming enterprise on the Board of Inquiry into the Tukituki Catchment Proposal. This project was recognised under the Resource Management act as a project of national significance.

  • Successful conclusion of the appeal processes on the South Waikato Proposed District Plan (now operative).

  • Acted as co-counsel for a significant client on its successful resource consent applications to a regional council to obtain replacement consents for a strategically important meant processing plant. The appeals were successfully resolved.

  • Advised Waikato District Council on an application by Yashili New Zealand Dairy Co Limited to establish and operate a $220 million infant formula manufacturing plant at Pokeno.

  • Bridget has acted for Waikato District Council on a number of significant plan changes and variations to implement the sub-regional growth strategy, to provide for the district’s rapid growth and to protect the district’s rural land for productive use. Examples: Plan Change 2 (Rural and Coastal Subdivisions), Variation 12 (Te Kauwhata Structure Plan), Variation 13 (Transferable Development Rights), and Plan Change 17 (Ngaruawahia and Surrounding Villages).

  • Bridget has advised Waikato District Council on two significant private plan changes to rezone rural land to allow development and subdivision to provide for the future growth of the district: Private Plan Change 12 (Rangitahi Peninsula) at Raglan and Private Plan Change 20 (Lakeside Developments) at Te Kauwhata.

  • Advised the Waikato Regional Council on Fonterra’s applications to renew a suite of resource consents associated with its dairy factory operations at Te Rapa, north of Hamilton.

  • Acted for Waikato District Council as applicant to successfully obtain discharge consents relating to the closed Ngaruawahia landfill. An appeal by a large resident group was successfully resolved.

  • Involved in various resource consent applications including intensive chicken farms, mushroom substrate production facility, quarries, transport depots, travellors’ accommodation, child care centres, dog day care, cleanfills, transferable development rights, subdivisions, comprehensive residential developments, retirement village, Ports of Auckland’s in-land freight hub at Horotiu, retail complexes and supermarket.

Consent to consenting: The limits of written approval

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When the rubber hits the road - All aboard Aotearoa's challenge

In his recent decision dismissing the challenge by All Aboard Aotearoa Inc (All Aboard)  to the Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan 2021, Justice Ve...

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Will RMA changes help fix New Zealand's housing problem?

On 19 October 2021, in a rare show of unity, Labour and National announced new housing density rules aimed at increasing the number of houses in New Z...

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"End use" effects off to the Court of Appeal

Earlier this year, we reported on the High Court’s finding on whether the ‘end use’ of an activity could be considered in a resource consent applicati...

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“No ‘wine-ing’ covenants” declined for a subdivision consent in Gibbston Valley

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Success for Synlait in the Supreme Court

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Local council ordered to pay costs!

It is rare for the Environment Court to awards costs against a council, particularly when it has been acting in its regulatory role. However, the Cour...

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From car parking fine to judicial review of a council’s code of conduct

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Shelly Bay development comes one step closer

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Council sent back to the drawing board on climate change

Over sixty mayors and regional council chairs have signed the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration.  Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action...

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Can the Environment Court decide who is primary mana whenua?

The High Court was recently asked to consider whether a consent authority, or the Environment Court, has jurisdiction to determine who holds primary m...

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Can end use be considered in a resource consent application?

Iwi and environmental groups recently challenged a decision of the Environment Court majority concerning the end use of plastic bottles from a water e...

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Parliament to remove barriers for Māori wards

In the twenty years that New Zealand law has provided for the establishment of Māori wards constituencies in local government, 24 councils have attemp...

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No generic court orders for compulsory seismic work

The District Court has sent a clear message that it will not give councils free rein to carry out unspecified seismic work on privately-owned earthqua...

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Councils remain liable for compliance of contractors with the RMA

The recent case of Otago Regional Council v Clutha District Council [2020] NZDC 26125 confirmed that when a consent holder or land owner delegates man...

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Can councils revive a lapsed resource consent?

Resource consents lapse five years after the date they commence unless the consent is given effect to before then. The consent authority can extend th...

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Government confirms commitment to resource management reform

The Government confirmed on 10 February 2021 that it will repeal the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) during the current parliamentary term and repl...

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Local authority requiring monetary contributions on designations

The Environment Court in Tauranga City Council v Minister of Education [2019] NZEnvC 32 has confirmed that a local authority has the power to recommen...

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Quarry covenants affecting Synlait's new Pokeno dairy factory

The Court of Appeal has recently delivered a decision on land covenants restricting land use, which affects the land Synlait has constructed its new $...

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Recent decision on "affected persons" highlights the importance of context

In Ennor v Auckland Council [2018] NZHC 2598, Whata J adopted the threshold test for an “affected person” under s 95E of the Resource Management Act 1...

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New RMA Compliance Oversight Unit and best practice guidelines

A new unit is to be established to oversee compliance with the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘RMA’). “At present compliance, monitoring, and enforceme...

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Environment report highlights serious land issues

A new comprehensive report on the state of land in New Zealand has been published by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ.  Our Land 201...

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Must Councils accept an assertion that a person is ‘suitably qualified'?

The issue was considered in the recent Environment Court case David Mulholland Consulting Engineer Ltd v Whanganui District Council [2018] NZEnvC 10.D...

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New Statutory requirements for consent conditions

Section 108AA of the Resource Management Act 1991 (“the RMA”) was inserted as part of the recent resource legislation amendments and came into effect ...

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Actual and reasonable costs principles

Local authorities when levying additional charges pursuant to Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) must ensure that those charges refl...

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Minister to reverse new non-notification law

Environment Minister David Parker has indicated that the Government will attempt to reform the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) which was amended in...

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