RMLA ‘Outstanding Person Award’ received by Associate Professor Ken Palmer

29 October 2012

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Associate Professor Ken Palmer and the Hon. Peter Salmon QC

Faculty of Law Associate Professor Ken Palmer was recently awarded the Resource Management Law Association ‘Outstanding Person Award’ for 2012.

The Association presents this award for exemplary individual contributions to the law, theory and practice of resource management, and Ken Palmer’s incredible academic credentials saw him honoured, and described as the “guru” of resource management and local government law in New Zealand in the awards’ citation.

Ken studied law at Auckland University, Harvard University and the University of Virginia. He was appointed to the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland in 1969, and since then has made a substantial contribution to research, teaching, law reform and legal practice in the fields of planning/resource management law, and local government law.

For Ken receiving this award was an honour, and an acknowledgement of a lifetime of work in the law. He attributes in part his success to the support of the Faculty of Law.

“The award provides an affirmation of the supportive environment provided by the University of Auckland, and the Law School, which encourages and facilitates the scholarship required to produce texts and papers of significant quality. Without the library and research facilities, grants for student research assistance, study leave and time out for the work, the scope and depth of my publications would not have eventuated,” says Ken Palmer.

Looking back on his contributions to date, Ken sees three main achievements as responsible for his receipt of this award - Firstly his book publications, commencing with Planning Law in New Zealand (1977), Local Government Law in New Zealand (1978), and ending with the combined Local Authorities Law in New Zealand (2012). He says these various texts, and contributions to other texts, have been intended to provide readers with an insight into complex objectives and procedures in the matrix of the law, enabling appropriate outcomes.

Secondly, his lecturing of Planning Law, and now Resource Management Law, over a 40 year period to students at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

“I have contributed with the intent of maintaining high academic standards in the subject area. The supervision of many excellent dissertations and theses has complemented my teaching. My editorship of the New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law has aimed to provide a vehicle for publication of the best student papers,” he says.

Finally his participation in professional activities, including conferences, continuing legal education, law reform, submissions on new legislation, involvement with local bodies, and limited legal practice, has been part of a wider endeavor to promote community wellbeing and maintenance of the law. He has a concern over the fair implementation of the Treaty of Waitangi, including water rights, and the valuation and rating of Maori land.
As a teacher of resource management and local government law Ken Palmer has gained the respect of several generations of law students.

The award was collected on his behalf by the Honourable Peter Salmon QC, due to his being overseas on academic business at the time, and was re-presented to him in person on 25 October at the annual Salmon Lecture organised by RMLA, at Russell McVeagh’s Shortland Street offices.