Press Release – Waikato University
A new centre being launched at the University of Waikato Te Piringa-Faculty of Law brings together expertise from a wide range of fields to tackle environmental law issues.23 November, 2011
New research centre at Waikato tackles environmental law issues
A new centre being launched at the University of Waikato Te Piringa-Faculty of Law brings together expertise from a wide range of fields to tackle environmental law issues.
Professor Barry Barton is the founding director of the Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law and says the university has strong capabilities in this field.
“We have expertise across all aspects of environmental, natural resources and energy law and the centre pulls this expertise together more explicitly into public awareness and the awareness of other research institutes and organisations that have research needs.”
The centre will have several roles, including providing interdisciplinary research to councils and government departments, organisations and corporations, community and iwi groups, and international agencies.
“Our research is at the front end where we are recognising research needs and opportunities which will help to inform policy and law in the environmental sphere,” says Professor Barton.
Current research projects include Energy Cultures, a three-year programme looking at domestic energy use, and INTERCOAST, a research and training co-operative programme between the University of Waikato and Bremen University in Germany.
Professor Barton says the new centre will be organised around the themes of water, energy efficiency, petroleum and minerals, Māori and indigenous environmental governance, coastal and marine environment, and international environmental law.
“We will focus strongly on natural resources law, which is concerned with how we make a living from the environment, and energy law, which has to do with energy sources, but also how we organise supply and demand and how we can influence the way that energy is used.”
The Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law will be launched at three events next week. The first is in Tauranga on November 29, followed by Hamilton on November 30 and then in Wellington on December 1.
All three events will include a keynote address by leading international law expert Professor Rob Fowler of the University of South Australia. Professor Fowler co-founded a similar centre in Australia.
“The establishment of this new centre at Waikato University is an important development because it will draw together a very talented group of legal scholars to work in a coordinated manner on critical legal issues concerning the future of our environment,” says Professor Fowler.
“By focussing not only on environmental law, but also on natural resources and energy law, the centre will have a holistic vision that is crucial to finding effective solutions to the challenges we all face in relation to climate change, loss of biodiversity and the underlying theme of sustainability.
“As its reputation grows, it will attract the attention of scholars internationally who will be keen to visit the centre and take part in some of its activities and given the established credentials of those involved in this new centre, I expect it to quickly establish its reputation internationally.”
Other keynote speakers include environment court and district court Judge Melanie Harland, who will speak in Hamilton, and financial journalist Rod Oram, who will speak in Wellington.