Meet the Aston Consultants team: the planning and resource management specialists
Fiona Aston - Director
Fiona Aston (MNZPI, MRMLA) has over 35 years resource planning experience in both local government and the private sector.
Few planners could rival the breadth and depth of her expertise. Fiona acts as an expert witness, and hearings commissioner (qualified with excellence) and has expertise in planning research, development and subdivision feasibility and due diligence assessments, strategic advice, resource consents, plan changes, submissions, mediations, and policy development and analysis.
Her clients have spanned large corporates, oil companies, SOEs, property developers, tourist operators, farming and forestry interests, utility operators, quarrying and mining interests, councils, community groups, individuals and businesses of all types.
Fiona has provided planning services or acted as Commissioner for South Island local authorities dealing with a wide diversity of environments and planning issues, including Christchurch City, former Banks Peninsula District, Westland and Buller Districts, Nelson City and Queenstown Lakes.
As the driving force behind the consultancy, Fiona leads by the core values she has established for the consultancy – honesty, integrity, pragmatism and a “will do” attitude. Her solid reputation has been built on the continually positive results, professional networks and open communication she maintains.
Mobile: 0275 332213
Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI)
Member Resource Management Law Association
CONFERENCES - NZPI
Joint NZPI/Australian PI Conference
2010 - Stepping Up & Treading Water: Progress and Challenges in Achieving Sustainable Residential Development in New Zealand
Richard Johnson - Senior Planner
Richard has even more planning experience than Fiona! (over 45 years), principally in senior planning management roles in both local and central government. He has been Manager EEZ Applications at EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (2013-2019) and prior to this was Divisional Manager Planning and Consents at Nelson City Council, and District Planning Manager at Waimakariri District Council where he took the lead on the new District Plan.
This background has provided Richard with extensive experience in central and local government planning and regulatory processes and context. The regulatory span of this experience goes beyond RMA in to many of the core statutory functions of Councils including its strategic and long term planning. This experience and awareness is increasingly important as more planning processes and decisions are made outside the RMA (Resource Management Act) – including under specific fast tracked legislation and strategic planning documents prepared under the Local Government Act.
Those who have worked with Richard know that he combines his rare and highly valuable skill set with a careful, practical and pragmatic approach. He approaches tasks with insightful thinking being prepared to question convention and common practice. His work experience means he is equally comfortable advising on strategic policy matters, as he is on working on ‘everyday’ planning matters such as consents and plan changes and policy implementation.
Richard is a fully certified Hearings Commissioner, and a JP.
Fiona and Richard worked together early on in their planning careers at Christchurch City Council. They have now joined forces again, with the practice benefiting immensely from their experience and complementary skill sets.
Mobile: 022 6934527
Member of the Resource Management Law Association