No more legal action over land

A dispute over land at Hawea Flat has been put to rest after a conservation group abandoned any further legal action against the farmer.

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand has withdrawn its application to the Environment Court for a substantive enforcement order against Dougal Innes, after an interim order it earlier obtained preventing Mr Innes from further cultivating his land was cancelled by the Environment Court on March 28.

Following Environment Court Judge John Hassan's verbal decision, Forest and Bird lawyer Sally Gepp had said the society would consider the written findings before deciding whether to pursue its application for the substantive order, which related to both remediation of the site and preventing further clearance.

Otago Southland conservation officer Sue Maturin confirmed the application's withdrawal to the Otago Daily Times this week and said: ''In light of the court's decision to uplift the interim order, it serves no purpose to continue with it.''

The interim order came into effect on March 3, temporarily putting a halt to the clearance and discing work Mr Innes had been carrying out.

The society said significant indigenous vegetation was being destroyed by the work and the damage would be irreparable if he continued cultivating.

A Queenstown Lakes District Council abatement notice issued to Mr Innes was withdrawn the day the Environment Court uplifted the interim order. Mr Innes could not be reached for comment yesterday.


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