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Judge Jane Borthwick, commissioners Glenice Paine and Ruth Bartlett and special adviser Russell Howie have been hearing the appeals to Topic A (the objectives and physiographic zone policies).
The proposed Southland water and land plan seeks to address activities that are known to have a significant effect on water quality, such as land use intensification, urban discharges, winter grazing and stock access to waterways.
This interim decision resolved appeals on Objective 1 and 3 and provided direction for the next part of the plan appeals. The court’s decision clarifies the interpretation of the two objectives (while reordering them to be Objectives 1 and 2).
The decision followed three days of hearings in Christchurch from June 15-17.
Environment Southland director of policy, planning and regulatory services Vin Smith said staff and the appeals team would be taking time to carefully consider the findings made.
“It is anticipated that the remaining live appeal points in Topic A will be resolved by a combination of expert witness conferencing, by submissions and mediation between the parties and an additional hearing if required.
“We look forward to working with all parties to finalise all objectives and policies of the plan over the coming months.”
This plan is the foundation document for ongoing work to address the community’s values and aspirations for water, and ultimately set limits and enable Environment Southland to meet its obligations under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.
Final decisions on the plan will not be made until the remainder of the appeal topics have been heard.