Board of Inquiry to consider renewable generation

  • Trevor Mallard

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard has appointed an independent Board of Inquiry to consider the proposed National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation.

The proposed national policy statement is one of the key actions aimed at achieving the government’s target of 90 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2025.

”When notified by the board, the proposed policy statement is likely to attract a high level of public interest, so I am pleased to be able to appoint board members of such high calibre and reputation,” Trevor Mallard said.

The board comprises:
• Dr Royden Somerville, QC – local government and environmental barrister (Chair)
• Geraldine Baumann – a senior legal adviser with an extensive involvement in the electricity industry
• Wira Gardiner – company director
• Dr Ralph Chapman – Associate Professor and environmental economist.

After hearing public views via an open submission process, the board will report back to the Environment Minister with recommendations on the proposed national policy statement.

The board is expected to publicly notify the proposed national policy statement next month.

The proposed national policy statement will require changes to local government plans, and give guidance to Resource Management Act decision makers when they consider resource consent applications for renewable electricity generation projects.

It will also provide clarity to the community and those seeking resource consents to develop, upgrade, maintain and operate new and existing renewable electricity generation projects.

Board of Inquiry – biographical information:

Dr Royden Somerville, QC (chairperson) is a Dunedin based barrister. He was appointed as a Queens Counsel in 1998. Dr Somerville has almost 30 years professional expertise in local government and environmental law. Dr Somerville has been Counsel in a number of environmental law cases before the Planning Tribunal, the Environment Court and other courts, and has acted as Commissioner on a number of hearings.

Geraldine Baumann is Senior Legal Adviser at the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in Wellington. She has had a long involvement with the electricity industry as General Counsel, Company Secretary and Chief Executive of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand. Geraldine Baumann has been a board member of Genesis Energy Ltd and deputy chair of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. She also has resource management knowledge gained through her qualifications and work experience as a lawyer.

Wira Gardiner is the founding Director of Gardiner Parata Limited, based in Ruatoria and Wellington. He has had a long involvement in the public sector. He was the first director of the Waitangi Tribunal, and was also general manager of the Iwi Transition Agency and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Maori Development. Wira Gardiner has also been a hearing commissioner on a number of environmental hearings and chair and member on a number of government boards, including the resolution of Central North Island forestry claims.

Dr Ralph Chapman is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Graduate Programme in Environmental Studies at Victoria University in Wellington. Dr Chapman is an environmental economist with over 20 years of academic and professional experience in public policy and strategy. Dr Chapman has worked as an independent consultant on a number of projects including a review team for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. He also has a long involvement in the public sector as a manager and adviser at the United Kingdom Treasury, the New Zealand Treasury, the Office of the Associate Minister of Finance and the Ministry for the Environment.