Not just a new office location

2019 continues to be an exciting year of growth for us, strengthening our teams in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and now we can also add a brand new 4Sight location to that list, because as of 4 November we are excited to announce the official opening of our Gisborne office.

There is always a great deal of thought and strategic planning that goes into these decisions. The development of regional offices forms an essential part of 4Sight’s overall vision by ensuring we have dedicated teams on the ground to meet the needs of our clients, while also playing an integral role in our carbon reduction strategy by minimising the need to fly our people around Aotearoa. But in saying that, this time around, our reasoning also came back to the longstanding personal connections we have with the region of Tairāwhiti as our two founding Directors (Alice and Aaron Andrew) have strong family ties to the area, and continue to spend every summer up the coast.

Alice’s family ties even extend to her dad (far right) playing for poverty bay from 1976 to 79, including in first 5/8 position against the Lions led by Ian Kirkpatrick in 1977.

Alice’s family ties even extend to her dad (far right) playing for poverty bay from 1976 to 79, including in first 5/8 position against the Lions led by Ian Kirkpatrick in 1977.

The timing was right too. Earlier in the year Karl Baldwin and Katherine Davies, Directors of the former KTB Planning - now Principals at 4Sight - relocated to Gisborne. Plus, Megan Dever, a Senior Planning and Policy Consultant at 4Sight, also permanently moved back to the area, her hometown, meaning we finally have the capacity and resources to meet the ever-increasing planning and environmental demands of the region.

Principal Planners Max Dunn and Ian Mayhew, Principal Marine Ecologist Mark Poynter, and Senior Coastal Process Consultant Sam Morgan, continue to be regulars to the area as well, along with other members of the wider 4Sight team. So this is just the beginning for us in Gisborne, as we intend to keep growing our presence here and in Hawkes Bay area over the next few years – watch this space!

In the meantime, feel free to drop by and visit us - we would love to see you! You can find us here:

Level 1, Wilson James Centre, 77 Peel Street, Gisborne.

Auckland's Region-wide Stormwater Network Discharge Consent (NDC)

4Sight has been an integral part of the Auckland Council Healthy Waters’ team that delivered a single NDC for Auckland’s public stormwater network – both existing and future – replacing the fragmented suite of more than 100 old NDCs and other authorisations inherited by Auckland Council.  4Sight Consulting helped develop the form and content of the consent, prepared the application, supported it through notification and provided expert planning evidence to the hearing and subsequent, and successful, Environment Court mediation.  This significant and ground breaking consent was confirmed by the Environment Court on 30 October 2019.

The Auckland Stormwater NDC seeks to give effect to the integrated stormwater management approach directed by the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part).  This approach recognises that the effective management of urban stormwater requires ‘source to discharge’ management and that decisions made at the land use and development stage have a fundamental bearing on the ability to achieve multiple community and environmental outcomes.  The NDC seeks to apply best practice stormwater management in both greenfield and brownfield development to minimise new stormwater effects and to progressively reduce existing adverse effects.

In addition to better environmental and community outcomes, the region-wide resource consent will bring implementation efficiencies through a single approach across the region and streamlined processes, while avoiding the need (and costs) for  individuals to seek stormwater consents for their own developments.  Over the next 30 or so years of implementation, the consent will assist Healthy Waters to achieve its vision of creating a water sensitive community and help give effect to the strategic direction provided by the Auckland Plan.

Key aspects of the consent include:

  • Strategic objectives, outcomes and targets that seek to improve the management of stormwater and progressively reduce adverse effects that have resulted from past urban development;

  • Best practice integrated stormwater management on new and redevelopment, including the implementation of water sensitive design in greenfield development and major brownfield redevelopment;

  • Performance standards and requirements for Council works, greenfield and brownfield developments and transport projects, including a pathway for the development of template based Stormwater Management Plans to customise stormwater management to specific projects;

  • Consistent requirements for the operation, maintenance and development of the stormwater network and the ability to prioritise improvements across the region;

  • Monitoring of projects, catchment and receiving environments, coupled with inclusive and transparent reporting requirements that incorporate peer review by an independently appointed technical review group;

  • Review processes to ensure the consent delivers the outcomes that are expected and allow the management of the stormwater network to adapt and respond to changing circumstances including new technology and knowledge, climate change and community priorities.

If you would like to know more or discuss how the NDC might be relevant to your stormwater network or development, contact our stormwater experts Ian Mayhew or Trent Sunich.

Martyn Wilson urban stream riparian restoration

Martyn Wilson urban stream riparian restoration


How it all went - Coastal Engineering Challenges in a Changing World

The Coastal Society event held last Thursday night in the 4Sight Offices was a great success. Thanks to Dr Steven Hughes from Colorado, who is visiting New Zealand as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, in conjunction with the University of Auckland and NZ Coastal Society.

It was good to discuss the challenges around present-day coastal engineering, with other passionate professionals in the region. Dr Steven Hughes talk was videoed and live streamed, we will be adding a link a little later on.

The invisible challenges of urban ecological restoration projects

NZRA 2.png

A keen, engaged community.  A desire to restore their natural environment.  All of the components needed to deliver lasting and meaningful ecological and social outcomes?

We know that cities provide important biological, cultural and social values and function, despite their highly urbanised nature. They are a home we share with a wide variety of plants and animals. There is growing shift of community expectation, connection and action towards the restoration and enhancement of urban ecology to balance the impacts of past development and future growth.  

Community groups and stakeholders provide a key conduit to a wider-pool of community resource and knowledge, and can bring those additional benefits only gained by community-based projects where learning is enabled, knowledge is shared, and a community spirit and connection is grown. 

However, a lack of planning, coordination or on-going focus can lead to a loss of outcome or support. 

At this year’s New Zealand Recreational Association Conference, Senior Ecologist Tony Payne will be presenting a case study for Senior Planner Simon Karl's presentation, on the Orewa Estuary Te Ara Tahuna Community Restoration Plan. The plan was delivered for, and with the community, supported by the Auckland Council Biodiversity Team, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and Forest and Bird.

From conception, the Plan was intended to develop lasting interactions between community groups and provide an easy to understand, and easy to implement, means of enhancing the 12km coastal margin surrounding the Orewa Estuary.

At our presentation, we will discuss our approach towards community liaison, delving into the ecological and social context of the area, and how we developed the plan, so the community could understand what ecological restoration and monitoring activities are needed, and importantly, their role in delivering them. 

Ultimately, the Plan reflects the local community’s interests, providing information, advice and the tools needed to deliver matauranga maori, animal pest control, environmental weed control, restoration planting, bird monitoring and mangrove management.

Drawing on recent project examples, Tony and Simon will explore several pitfalls and challenges associated with riparian ecological restoration works around our cities and discuss how these can be avoided or managed so that communities can continue to work together to achieve great things.


NZCS Auckland Regional Event - Coastal Engineering Challenges in a Changing World

NZCS Auckland Regional Event Image.jpg

As active people on an island nation, New Zealanders have a strong connection to the coast. It is a place we run, walk, fish, sail, swim, surf, paddle and simply enjoy the sense of freedom offered by the small space between the environment we are accustom to and the ocean. This leads to strong passions and opinions about how we all use and share this prized space. This passion contributes to the unique challenges in coastal management across all of New Zealand, with our differing opinions contributing to a continuing discourse on how best to manage this precious fringe. 

The 4Sight team is continuing to build its skill set in the coastal management space with the intent of being able to further contribute to these issues across the whole country. We are an enthusiastic team of experienced professionals including ecologists, coastal scientists and planners who work alongside a range of external professionals to achieve the best outcomes for our coast. Sam Morgan recently joined the 4Sight team with the intent on contributing and building the team further in the coastal management space. His commitment to this is reflected in his involvement with the New Zealand Coastal Society both regionally and nationally. 

Sam is currently organising a seminar to be held at the 4Sight Auckland office. Dr Steven Hughes is visiting New Zealand as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, in conjunction with the University of Auckland. This seminar is also generously supported by the New Zealand Coastal Society, NZCS. This seminar first presents a few observations about present-day coastal engineering, and then focusses on four challenges that will be faced by the coastal engineering profession in the near future: (1) responding to climate change; (2) maintaining the knowledge base; (3) advocating for coastal engineering; and (4) learning from coastal engineering practitioners.  How we, as a community respond to these challenges, will define coastal engineering well into the future.  

When: 10th May 2018 - 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: 4Sight Consulting, 201 Victoria Street West, Auckland Central
RSVP:  by May the 4th.

Planning for Land. People. Water


Here at 4Sight Consulting we seek to demonstrate sustainable and environmental excellence and leadership in our wide-ranging projects. 

Our philosophy is to deliver project teams based on a broad range of experience using planners, environmental scientists, and environmental engineers to ensure all aspects of project delivery are taken into account.



The 4Sight Planning and Policy team are working across New Zealand on a number of exciting development projects and policy initiatives.

This month Melissa Pearson our Senior Planning and Policy Consultant gives us insight into her role here at 4Sight and the varied projects she has on her plate.

We are always on the look out for planners to join the team. Our current needs are flexible, and may depend on what you can bring to the role.  Take a peek at our careers page for all our latest roles on offer.

NES for the Forestry Industry


4Sight is pleased to see the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry being released by the Government last week. Since late 2015, 4Sight has been working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment to help refine the regulations and respond to issues raised in public consultation.


The regulations are by far the most comprehensive national environmental standards developed to date and are a result of a significant amount of work. Not only are the regulations expected to deliver certainty and efficiency benefits for the forestry sector, councils and other stakeholders, they are also expected to deliver improved environmental outcomes.


The regulations come into effect May 2018, and 4Sight is now assisting the Ministry for Primary Industries with the implementation phase to deliver guidance and training to councils, foresters and key stakeholders to ensure an effective rollout.

Contact us if you'd like to find out more about the work we have done

National Environmental Standard for Telecommunication Facilities 2016

An updated and expanded National Environmental Standard for Telecommunication Facilities (NESTF) was gazetted on the 24 November 2016, and will come into effect on 1 January 2017. 4Sight has been working closely with the Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) to develop and refine the new regulations. 4Sight's ongoing involvement in this project is based on our proven experience in central government policy development, practical planning experience and knowledge of the telecommunication industry through our resource consent acquisition work for 2degrees across New Zealand. 

The process for developing the 2016 NESTF has taken a number of years, and responds to increasing demands for greater mobile services and technologies and modern forms of telecommunication facilities. The 2016 NESTF will support the development of a wider range of telecommunications infrastructure, particularly Ultra-Fast Broadband, the Rural Broadband Initiative and fourth generation mobile infrastructure, through permitting a wider range of telecommunication facilities in locations inside and outside road reserves. 

A key focus of 4Sight’s role in this project has been to ensure the NESTF achieves its objective of ‘providing greater national consistency for a wider range of telecommunications infrastructure and locations’ while ensure environmental effects are appropriately managed through appropriate conditions and allowing for local control to be retained in areas with particular significance or value. This process has benefited from an exposure draft process which involved working with a Technical Advisory Group comprised of industry and local government representatives to test and refine the regulations. 

The focus of 4Sight is now on developing a comprehensive user guide for the NESTF to help explain the technical regulations in a more concise and understandable manner and to facilitate the efficient and effective roll out of the NESTF early next year.

Here is the press release for more information or you are welcome to get in touch with Jerome Wyeth for more information.


We consent all sorts of interesting things from tree houses to giant inflatable gorillas, but a few eyebrows were raised initially in the Monday team meeting around getting a consent to remove and dispose of drift wood from Gisborne’s main beach. 

It’s a bit easier to see why if you watch this drone footage. You can see the extent of the problem, following the recent floods, and imagine its effect on the seaside town especially leading into summer. All this driftwood damages the dune system and prevents the vegetation establishing which in turn exacerbates coastal erosion. But what do you do with it? Smoke and ash from burning this much driftwood would be a major problem so close to an urban area.

The good news is GDC and the Kopututea Trust working with DOC have identified an area within Kopututea, an area owned by the Trust and shared by the wider community as a public reserve, where the driftwood can be deposited. The intention is that this will then be used as part of an overall restoration project to establish plantings which will enhance the area. However, the proposed works will trigger a range of rules under the Combined Regional and Land Plan, the proposed Freshwater Plan, the Air Quality Plan and Gisborne Coastal Environment Plan. Whilst this may seem inconvenient to some, these rules actually ensure protection of our environment and making sure the public can still use and enjoy this valued coastal environment to its fullest. Also it’s a painless process when you have great planners. We are helping GDC obtain all the necessary approvals to get this done, watch this space. You can also see a coastal walkway we recently consented for them. 

Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan - What's coming up

Auckland Unitary Plan.png

After 2 ½ years of submissions and hearings, the Independent Hearings Panel will be releasing their recommendations to the Council on 22 July 2016. The Councillors will have until 19 August 2016 to either accept or reject the recommendations of the Panel, and appeals regarding the provisions must be lodged with the Courts by 16 September 2016. 

How much will change?

Like you, we do not know what the Panel’s recommendations will be.  We expect that they will adopt the agreed positions that submitters and the Council have come to, however they are not likely to adopt all of the Council’s submissions. We also understand that the look and feel of the Plan will be different to the current version.


Under the specific legislation for the Unitary Plan there is a reduced scope of appeal available.  In general, appeals are only able to be made on points of law (to the High Court) unless the Council does not accept the recommendations of the Panel.

What does this mean for you?

The rules are changing - there are likely to be activities that you can do now that you won’t be able to do without consent.  Equally there could be activities that are more permissive than currently.  We understand that some zoning is also likely to change, this could be upzoning of some residential areas or changes from rural to urban.

There will be uncertainty – it is likely there will be a number of appeals made on the Decisions Version of the PAUP.  It will take the Council some time to identify what appeals affect what parts of the PAUP.

There will be delays – we except that due to the new statutory planning regime the Council processing times will be extended as they work to address applications under the new rules and criteria.  It’s likely there will be higher processing costs due to the need to address both the legacy plans and the new plan.

Consenting Regime – it may be beneficial for your project to lodge prior to the Decisions Version being notified (August), or alternatively it may be beneficial to wait.  We can provide advice on this for you.

When will it all be over?

Only after all appeals have been settled will we have the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) and (apart from the Hauraki Gulf Islands) we can disregard all legacy plans.  However, it could be that aspects of the appeals are settled more quickly than others so some areas of Auckland will only be subject to the new plan.

We’re here to help

4Sight Consulting has a strong relationship with the Council and will be kept informed of how the Council, in particular the resource consents department, will be implementing the Decisions Version of the PAUP.  We can provide advice to you on when to lodge consent, and whether, as a submitter, it is worth lodging an appeal.

For help or advice, speak with one of our planning consultants


Grand Designs require Grand Plans

Grand Designs require Grand Plans

4Sight Consulting is proud to have contributed to the Ballara family’s house becoming a reality. We love the house for its innovation, and for its inclusion of passive building principles where heating and cooling systems form part of the ecology of the building. 

Read More