The High Court has ruled on the Tukituki Board of Inquiry plan for the catchment, supporting the environmental appellants, and awarding reimbursement of costs to Fish & Game and Forest & Bird, to be paid by HBRC, HBRIC and co-respondents Dairy NZ, Fed Farmers and Fonterra.

Here’s the crux …

“The effect of my judgment is that the Board will need to reconsider Rule TT1(j) and devise an appropriate mechanism for monitoring the amount of DIN that enters the Catchment Area. The Board will also have to reconsider its terms of consent for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.”

And then …

“[218] The parties have all said that if I find the Board made a material error of law I should direct the Board to reconsider the relevant portion of its report in light of my findings. I agree that is the appropriate course to follow. The Board is seized of significant quantities of evidence and information that could not be properly conveyed to me when dealing with appeals based only on questions of law. I therefore direct the Board to reconsider and change Rule TT1(j). When the Board changes Rule TT1(j) it will also need to amend the conditions of consent to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme project. In making this direction I am not suggesting the Board should necessarily revert to its draft Rule TT1(j). The Board will need to consider a range of possibilities and ensure the parties have had a fair opportunity to comment on the final version of Rule TT1(j).”

So … back to the drawing boards on how DIN (nitrogen) limits should be implemented in relation to both Plan Change 6 and the dam. More uncertainty ahead for the dam.

The Regional Council is scheduled to get a progress report from HBRIC at its Wednesday the 17th meeting.

Might be worth attending.

More to come on implications.

Tom Belford

P.S. The full decision is here: Hawke’s Bay and Eastern Fish and Game Councils v Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

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1 Comment

  1. This outcome certainly confirms the value of judicial reviews. Time-consuming and expensive, but they do make councils – and boards of enquiry – more accountable.

    I wish HBRC had given more attention to the public submissions they received six months ago, and seriously explored the possibilities for compromise.

    Now they have another chance.

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