Media release from UnitedFuture
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has welcomed the High Court’s decision to reject appeals by Horticulture New Zealand and Federated Farmers against the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council’s “One-Plan”.
The One-Plan proposed a comprehensive approach to regulating dairying, sheep and beef farming, cropping and commercial vegetable growing in the region and was objected to essentially on the grounds that it erred too far on the side of environmental protection.
“The High Court’s ruling in favour of the One-Plan is a comprehensive victory for the environment and a major step in the direction of promoting sustainable agriculture.
“It underpins the value of the current principles of the Resource Management Act, and makes it clear why the Government must not water these down in its present attempts to reform the Act,” Mr Dunne says.
Mr Dunne says he was disappointed that DOC was not more active in supporting the One-Plan, given its role as an environmental advocate.
“It was fortunate local anglers and hunters through their local Fish and Game Councils had the resources to take up the case. This is an unfortunate parallel with the current Ruataniwha Dam situation where DOC’s attempts to make a comprehensive submission to the board of inquiry have been thwarted. Both cases highlight the importance of the current principles of the Resource Management Act and why they must not be watered down, as administrative processes are reformed,” he says.
News from Greens
The Green Party today welcomed the High Court decision that allows the Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan to proceed. The High Court has upheld the Environment Court’s ruling that nutrient management provisions in the Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan, which aim to improve water quality in the Manawatu-Whanganui region, are valid.
“This a great outcome for the environment,” said Green Party water spokesperson Eugenie Sage. “The High Court decision means that the Council can finally get about its business implementing the One Plan and start to clean up the rivers and lakes in the Manawatu- Whanganui region.
“This is a win for all New Zealanders who love our lakes and waterways and want water quality to improve so that they and their children can enjoy them for swimming, fishing, and gathering kai. The Court’s decision sends a clear signal that business as usual, when it comes to polluting our rivers and lakes, is not an option.
“The Horizons’ One Plan is a good model for other regional councils, but we need effective national rules which would guide regional councils and help avoid regional plans being relitigated in every region.
“The Government’s weak draft national objectives for water quality leaked to the media earlier this month won’t do the job because they are a license to pollute.
“We need a Ministry for the Environment committed to improving water quality and a Department of Conservation which is allowed to advocate for clean water and healthy freshwater fish habitats, not one which is gagged by its Minister.
“DOC’s involvement in the original Environment Court case alongside Fish and Game and other parties was important in providing the Court with the technical evidence which saw the Court uphold rules for clean water,” said Ms Sage.
News from Federated Farmers
Federated Farmers is congratulating the Hon Justice Stephen Kós for his determination on the Horizons One Plan appeal.
“From the standpoint of pastoral farmers we’ve got a good outcome from Justice Kós,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president.
“From the get-go, Federated Farmers accepted pastoral farming was part of the One Plan. Our appeal was never about overturning the Plan because parts of the One Plan were already operative.
“It was about trying to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear and the decision by Justice Kós vindicates the appeal by Federated Farmers and the investment of our members.
“Justice Kós’ interpretation, expressed in his ruling, is that the One Plan allows exceptions from the fixed nitrogen (N) loss limits. This is very positive for our farmers and gives them assurance that they will be able to continue farming because unachievable N loss limits will not now be applied to their farms.
“What Federated Farmers wanted and was effectively in the 2010 decisions version, was a focus on good management practices to minimise N loss, faecal contamination and sediment.
“Justice Kós has agreed with us on this so it is a huge step forward from the unimplementable Environment Court version. Justice Kós has given us a clear pathway for making the One Plan workable
“The One Plan chronology tells the story because we had a decisions version of the One Plan after hearings in 2010. This we could have lived with. The Environment Court turned the clock back to 2007 but the High Court has now readjusted the clock back to 2010.
“This High Court case was incredibly complicated because it centred on points of law. The shame being that there were few media in the High Court on day one and none a few days later.
“Total costs from all sides involved in the One Plan has probably now reached the tens of millions of dollars. It is has been hugely frustrating and expensive. Our take is that the current council and management of Horizons Regional Council would do things very differently from those who preceded them.
“Current Horizons councillors deserve credit for the implementation plan notified in June and effectively endorsed by Justice Kós. He has given us a clear pathway for making the One Plan workable. We hope that Fish & Game will accept this and will not seek leave to appeal,” Mr Hoggard concluded.