Claimed delays over a further Environment Court hearing
involving the proposed Project Hayes wind farm on the
Lammermoor Range in Central Otago were highlighted at an
Otago Regional Council meeting on Wednesday.
Cr Michael Deaker, a member of the council's regulatory
committee, said he would not have thought the Environment
Court was "so understaffed" and so overworked that any
further applications regarding the proposed $2 billion
project could not be considered until next year.
Cr Deaker was responding to a council committee report on
consent processing and related matters at a meeting of the
A report on the proposed wind farm said the Environment Court
had indicated that applications concerning the project would
not be reconsidered until next year.
The report noted that a joint hearing panel of the Otago
Regional Council and the Central Otago District Council had
initially considered wind farm consent applications by
Meridian Energy. The applications were subsequently granted
However, the Environment Court overturned the consents in
Meridian appealed that decision to the High Court and the
regional council joined that appeal in support of Meridian's
The High Court heard the case and made its decision in
mid-August last year, rejecting some of the Environment
Court's findings and referring the decision on the
applications back to the Environment Court.
Cr Deaker said in an interview he was concerned about the
further delays, given the importance of the wind farm to the
regional economy and its national significance in terms of
In wider discussion, the committee also heard that the
Environment Court had also faced some difficulties, given
other matters, including the High Court appeal, and the
possibility of other appeals.