Stuart has over 25 years’ experience in local government and resource management litigation at all levels, and assists in providing advice on policy and legislation changes.
Stuart started his legal career at the predecessor of the firm currently known as Brookfields. He was a solicitor later becoming a partner at Tauranga law firm, Cooney Lees Morgan, where Stuart practiced between 1992 and 2003. There Stuart acted for both territorial authorities and a Regional Council (the Bay of Plenty Regional Council) on a full range of local government and resource management issues.
For a period, Stuart chaired the notification sub-committee of the Tauranga District Council, and assisted in a range of regulatory and resource management issues including issues relating to:
- Local authority enforcement
- Advising territorial authorities and the regional council over various plan changes and plan reviews (including in relation to the Regional Coastal Plan, the Regional Geo-thermal Plan, the Regional Land Plan and the Regional Air Plan.
- Stuart was involved in acting for Councils in various appeals by tangata whenua interests.
Stuart was a partner at Hesketh Henry, Auckland between 2003 – 2009, and commenced practice as a barrister in Auckland 2009.
Current and recent assignments have involved:
- Assisting and acting for the owner and insurer of MV Rena in obtaining resource consent to abandon the wreck of the Rena and Astralabe Reef (Otaiti) in the Bay of Plenty;
- Assisting the Northland Regional Council in relation to judicial review proceedings over water discharge for a coastal camping ground;
- Acting for a manufacturer in successfully taking judicial review proceedings against Auckland Council, overturning the Auckland Council’s decision to non-notify an application for a residential activity in an industrial zone: Tasti Products Ltd v Auckland Council (21 July 2016).
- Stuart has regularly provided case law updates as a national road show for the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI).