Local Government Law
Commercial and Contract Law
John Maassen is a general civil litigator and strategic advisor with over 30 years experience across many fields. John has two specialty areas. Resource management and public law and commercial litigation
Resource management, infrastructure projects, local government and public works
John is one of New Zealand’s most experienced experts in resource management, infrastructure projects, local government and public law. John acted for five local authorities as a barrister and solicitor for 28 years and joined the independent bar in 2017. John has worked in all resource domains: management of land, freshwater and coastal resources.
Leading cases where John has been lead or sole counsel include : R J Davidson v. Marlborough District Council, Attorney-General v. the Trustees of the Motiti Rohe Moana Trust  NZHC 1429 Koha Trust Holdings Limited v. Marlborough District Council  NZEnvC 152 Clearwater Mussels Limited v. Marlborough District Council  NZEnvC 109 Federated Farmers of New Zealand Incorporated v. Mackenzie District Council  NZEnvC 53 Palmerston North City Council v. Hardiway Enterprises Limited  NZCA 114.
Below are four examples of nationally important environmental matters where John's provision of legal services has been at a high level.
Wind Farming in the Manawatu
John has been involved in most of the cases involving wind farming in the Manawatu. An issue addressed in one publication by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment reflecting its importance. That work has included addressing cumulative visual effects and community concerns about noise. John was involved in the first Board of Inquiry run by the EPA called the Turitea Wind Farm Board of Inquiry that resulted in a massive two-volume decision by the Board that was led by Judge Kenderdine. John acted for Palmerston North City Council. John also led the Council's case on the Motorimu Wind Farm. See Motorimu Wind Farm Limited v. Palmerston North City Council Decision No. W067/2008. John was also involved in the Puketoi application near Dannevirke for the regional council which is Contact Energy Limited v. Manawatu Wanganui Regional Council Decision  NZEnvC 406. See also Palmerston North City Council v. New Zealand Windfarms Ltd  NZCA 601. The latter complex noise issue was finally resolved satisfactorily with revised consent conditions in 2017.
Management of the land resources of the Mackenzie Basin
John acted concerning the policy planning for the Mackenzie Basin on behalf of Meridian Energy through PLA Charge 13 to secure the continued effective and efficient operation of the Waitaki Electro Power Scheme.
One Plan-Implementation of freshwater goals by integrated catchment management and terrestrial biodiversity management led by the regional council
That was a ground-breaking combined regional policy statement and regional planning document. John acted for the regional council.
Aquaculture in the Marlborough region
As a result of work in many significant aquaculture cases, John is now assisting Marlborough District Council on spatial allocation methods to provide for existing agriculture in the Marlborough Sounds. Aquaculture is an important industry in New Zealand, and it is located (in the case of the Marlborough Sounds) in a sensitive environment.
John also works on general commercial, trust contract and relationship property litigation. John has in-house accounting and economics experts to assist with business and resource valuation. John’s approach is to take a robust economic and accounting approach to address the financial consequences of relationship breakdown.