Regional policy statement release after decision

Mediation talks on the Otago Regional Council’s regional policy statement are now complete, and the council is due to release the new statement after the Environment Court releases its final decision.

The statement is intended to cover the next 10 years and will replace the existing statement, which has been in effect since 1998.

The regional policy statement sets the direction for future management of Otago’s natural and physical resources and provides the foundation for development of regional  and district plans.

District and regional councils also need to adhere to the regional policy statement when making decisions about resource consents.

The draft policy was released for public consultation in 2015, and the council received more than 150 submissions from organisations and individuals.

ORC director of policy planning and resource management Tanya Winter said 26 appeals were  involved in the official mediation process, and a further 15  joined the process as interested parties under the Resource Management Act.

An Environment Court hearing involving the ORC, Forest and Bird, Port Otago, Oceana Gold and the Environmental Defence Society was then held in February.

"Only two issues raised in appeals were not resolved through mediation and required an Environment Court hearing," she said.

"Mediation processes are now complete, with all parties having co-operated and worked hard to resolve issues raised in appeals."

Final information on the two appeals was now being exchanged, as directed by the Environment Court, she said.

"For all other matters that did not require a hearing as the parties came to agreements to resolve their concerns, consent orders of those agreements are being lodged with the [Environment] court.

"The court will then consider all matters, and release its decision in due course.

"Once the court releases their decision, council will approve the regional policy statement."

- Rebecca Nadge

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