I enjoy my work and I take great pride in seeing my clients succeed.

For me, satisfaction comes from first connecting with my clients to gain a deep understanding of how they work, what’s important to them, and what they want to achieve.  Whether the task is advisory, or requires advocacy, success begins with a clear strategic foundation. The process of implementing the strategy then starts.

Often the development and use of our resources involves competing interests, and at times, conflict.  I represent my clients in these processes with professionalism and total commitment. As an advocate I excel in leading the presentation of my clients’ cases at council hearings, and at Court.

I also recognize the value of expert negotiation, having trained in specialist negotiation and mediation skills at Harvard University Law School.  Often a skilled negotiation can resolve contested matters before Court, without compromising my client’s strategic objectives. I take satisfaction in delivering value in this way.

After all, it’s the results that count.


“I have worked with Lachlan over a number of years, and while his local government and environmental skills are outstanding, I have gained most value from Lachlan as a strategic partner. He’s able to provide insight and advice not only on all matters legal, but is also able to clearly articulate strategically across all aspects of our organisation; he is a real asset.”

Richard Briggs
CEO Hamilton City Council

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A leading expert on ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Lachlan advises councils and developers on the use and development of natural and physical resources across New Zealand.


Whether advising councils, developers or affected parties, I strive to enable development which creates value in our land and resources for the benefit of both the developer and the wider community.

For developers I navigate the complexities of resource management in New Zealand. I advocate for the development community in environmental policy and rule setting processes, and represent developers in the process of securing development rights through resource consents, private plan changes, and designations.

I also work closely with councils on district plan making, advising on all stages of the Resource Management Act 1991 First Schedule processes. I assist in drafting plan provisions, and I represent councils from the hearing stage to negotiations, mediation, and defending plans on appeal in the Environment Court.

I also advise Councils on contentious resource consent applications, and regularly assist in the resolution of contested applications, including defending council decisions in the Environment Court.


Environmental Expertise

  • Environmental policy and plan making
  • Private plan changes
  • Resource consenting and designations
  • Enforcement and prosecution
  • Water allocation 
  • Wastewater treatment and discharge
  • Mining
  • Large scale urban development
  • Coastal development
  • Retail, commercial and industrial development
  • Public Infrastructure

“As a global mining company we take environmental compliance extremely seriously. Lachlan has helped us set our strategy and has expertly guided Coeur through the New Zealand regulatory framework. He’s  a critical part of the team.”

Jay Gear, Corporate Environmental Director, Coeur Mining, Chicago, IL, USA


a trusted advisor to local government in New Zealand

LACHLAN adviseS and representS a range of local authorities on all aspects of their functions, powers and administrative actions.


Much of my work within this sector is advisory. I work closely with councils to understand their objectives and then provide strategic advice on how to achieve their goals, while ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002 and related legislation.

I work to ensure governance and decision making processes are legally robust and immune to judicial review challenge, particularly around key policy decisions involving council Long Term Plans, Annual Plans, rating and revenue policies.

I have a particular emphasis on leading councils in their role and a facilitator of growth and development through the provision of public infrastructure. This includes negotiating and positioning councils in public/private infrastructure partnerships, private development agreements and development contribution policy setting and implementation.

My experience in this area also enables me to provide strategic advice to developers and other entities which engage with the local government sector in order to achieve their development aspirations.



PUBLIC LAW Expertise

  • Local Government statutory compliance
  • Governance and decision making
  • Judicial review
  • Long term Plan, Annual Plan, rating powers, revenue policy 
  • Development contributions 
  • Public / Private partnerships and development agreements
  • Policies and Bylaws
  • Community consultation requirements
  • Official information
  • Local Government Elections
  • Iwi engagement and partnering
  • Property disputes

“Lachlan has guided Council through many challenges. He has helped ensure we achieve our strategic environmental objectives, and has been instrumental in positioning Council as a leader across the local government sector in terms of iwi engagement and partnering."

Geoff Williams, CEO Rotorua Lakes Council


Memberships and affiliations

  • Member of the New Zealand Bar Association
  • Member of the The Association for Resource Management Practitioners
  • Associate member of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand


BA, LLB (Otago) 1995

Governance roles

  • Waikato Branch president of the The Association for Resource Management Practitioners 2013 -2016
  • Director Northern Districts Cricket Association 2007 -2014
  • Chair of Northern Districts Cricket Association 2013- 2014
  • Member of Governance Board, Tompkins Wake, Lawyers 2011 - 2017
  • Chair of partners, Tompkins Wake, Lawyers 2015 -2017
  • Trustee of Sacred Heart Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions Trust 2016- current


Mobile +64 21 471 490
Office +64 7 834 4336
Email lachlan@muldowney.co.nz
Chambers Panama Square, 14 Garden Place, Hamilton
Postal PO Box 9169, Waikato Mail Centre, Hamilton 3240