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EDS welcomes Environment Court ruling

02 April 2019

The Environmental Defence Society has welcomed the recent decision from the Environment Court regarding land use clearance on Simons Pass Station in the Mackenzie Country.

“The decision of the Court released yesterday means that Simons Pass now needs to apply for resource consents from Mackenzie District Council to irrigate large parts of the property. If the leaseholder goes ahead with an application it will be a discretionary consent and will need to be publicly notified,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

“Because of the new rules to protect landscape that apply, it’s my contention that it will be very difficult for such applications to be approved.

“It could well be that Simons Pass Station declines to go ahead and much of the area will remain in pastoral farming and not be converted to dairying. That will mean most of the valued ecology will remain, so it is a good outcome for the environment.

“The next question is what will happen regarding tenure review. Notwithstanding the Government’s stated intention to stop tenure review, the property could still continue through the process and is likely to do so.

“The implications of the Court decision are that more land should go into DOC control including all of the land now protected by Mackenzie Council’s new plan provisions. Moreover, the value of that land must now be much less if it cannot be converted to dairying.

“Overall, the decision probably means the end of dairy expansion in the Mackenzie Country, which is a very good outcome for the environment,” said Mr Taylor.

EDS was represented at the hearing by Rob Enright and Madeleine Wright.

Environment Court decision is available here.