America’s Cup court ruling vindicates process
The Environment Court has today granted the resource consent for the 36th America's Cup bases in Auckland and the associated infrastructure and activities.
Economic Development Minister David Parker welcomed the court’s decision, saying it showed the Government was right not to by-pass the process with special legislation as some had argued.
The consents were lodged by Auckland Council’s investment arm Panuku in April using the direct referral process allowed for under the Resource Management Act.
This process allows for the application to be sent straight to the Environment Court, rather than being heard first by the relevant Council. That streamlines the decision-making process for large scale and complex applications, saving time and costs for applicants and submitters.
“This has demonstrated that the direct referral process does deliver these benefits,” David Parker said.
“I was approached in my role as Environment Minister to consider special legislation to ensure that this important project could proceed.
“The success of this process, and the ability of all parties to be heard (the Court received 83 submissions), and reach agreement shows that no such over-bearing intervention was required.”
The Court decision was delivered at least four weeks earlier than expected, while the hearing of evidence took just one and a half days compared with the expected two weeks.
David Parker said this reflected an enormous effort by Panuku working with submitters to reach substantial agreement on contentious areas, the contribution of mana whenua and the work of the Court itself.
“Throughout the process I have been focused on ensuring that Auckland and New Zealand can host a world class event, while balancing economic, environmental and social outcomes, “ he said.
“Limiting the extent of harbour incursion, and ensuring an enduring legacy has been a key focus. I am continuing to work with officials to ensure that any loss of environmental amenity can be appropriately taken into account in resource management decisions.
“This is an important step towards a successful America's Cup event for New Zealand and Emirates Team New Zealand.”