Yesterday evening, the Council resolved to rescind its preliminary decision on 28 September 2016 to enter into an access arrangement with Rangitira Developments Limited for the proposed Te Kuha coal mine. The Council’s original decision was conditional on the outcome of the resource consent process, particularly any conditions which were necessary to ensure there are no impacts on the Westport water supply.
A large portion of the coal mine is located within land administered by the Council as a Local Purpose (Water Conservation) Reserve. The Royal Forest and Bird Society of New Zealand initiated judicial review proceedings challenging the Council’s earlier decision.
The Council has decided to rescind its earlier decision because there is legal uncertainty as to the correct approach to decisions to enter access arrangements on reserve land under the Crown Minerals Act 1991. Rather than spending resources defending the Council’s earlier decision before the High Court when the correct legal position is unclear, the Council decided it is more efficient to rescind its earlier decision and wait until the legal position is clarified before reconsidering Rangitira’s application.
The Council understands that Rangitira intends to initiate declaration proceedings shortly, which will clarify the legal position.
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|Buller District Council|