The Environmental Defence Society has welcomed the decision to restore Te Mata peak in the Hawkes Bay after an uproar by local iwi. “We were very concerned at the scar on that iconic landscape caused by the construction of a walking track,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“Our legal analysis showed that the Hastings District Council likely made 2 errors of law in approving the application. “First, the application should have been publicly notified because of its national importance both as an outstanding landscape and as a feature of cultural significance. Secondly, the decision to approve the application failed to apply the correct legal tests and was invalid.
“To its credit, Craggy Range entered into discussions with local iwi and came to the conclusion that it has been led up the garden path by the council. The owners have agreed to restore the land to its original condition.
“We congratulate Craggy Range on both its approach and its resolution of the dispute.
“As to the Council, we respectfully suggest that it should review its consenting processes. This should never have happened.“So far as the law is concerned, EDS is expecting the new Government will be taking a close look at the Resource Management Act and the notification requirements. Clearly on an issue like this of importance to the local community, there should be no doubt that notification should be a clear obligation. When development occurs on private land that affects the wider public, there should be a clear presumption in favour of notification and engagement.
“We are pleased that EDS does not now have to take the matter to court,” Mr Taylor concluded.