The Supreme Court's decision came out a few minutes ago. It's at https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/hawkes-bay-regional-investment-company-limited-v-royal-forest-and-bird-protection-society-of-new-zealand-incorporated-1/@@images/fileDecision (pdf)
Am I correct to think this is a victory for Forest & Bird, and that the land swap has been denied? From the conclusion:
"In the present case the Minister did not revoke the conservation park status of the 22 hectares because protected status for the land itself was not appropriate. It is clear that it was. The Court of Appeal was right to conclude that the revocation decision was unlawful because it was driven by the Director-General’s view that there was net benefit to conservation ends to be obtained from the proposed exchange which could be implemented only if protected status was revoked. That did not justify revocation under s 18(7).
" The Director-General was also in error in failing to take into account the policies contained in the Conservation General Policy and in the Hawke’s Bay Conservation Management Strategy adopted under the Conservation Act when making his determination to revoke protected status in order to effect the proposed exchange."
...and Bill English went on record soon afterwards to state that the government's going to consider changing the law to allow land swaps like this in future. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11886754
".and Bill English went on record soon afterwards to state that the government's going to consider changing the law to allow land swaps like this in future. "
Proof of Nationals views on conservation and existing access rights. A good insight in an election year not that any of us ever suspected anything different
Here's the official Minister release, which is trying to frame the logic in changing the law. http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2017/government-to-consider-ruahine-land-swap-decision/
This statement is difficult to take seriously:
"For the past 30 years we all believed that the legislation allowed the swap of a low value piece of conservation land for a piece of land with higher conservation values."
It echoes what the PM also said in the Herald article above -- they're working on a narrative to push on this.
Unless those people were very quiet about it, though, NOBODY believed that the legislation allowed the swap of Specially Protected Areas (Conservation Parks, Forest Parks, etc. It was only when someone decided they wanted to do it that they looked for obscure technical interpretations under law to enable it to happen.
And then when it was successfully challenged, the Minister and Agency charged with protecting Specially Protected Areas went as far as the Supreme Court to try and argue that Specially Protected Areas actually had no more protection than Stewardship Land.
the govt probably dont like the precedent being set here. its not necessarily about this dam, i'm not convinced they are that worried about it, or they havent done there homework, theres no evidence that it will turn a profit, but the local farmers dont care, they won't be alive to worry about financial loses when it arrises
Ive seen the rivers that feed this dam. They are already shadows of what they once were. The dam will allow the river beds to be turned into more arid grass land. There is no way this dam will irrigat more than 5% of Hawkes bay but I bet a large portion of Hawkes Bay farmers will be expected to pay for it
Meanwhile Sir Geoffrey Palmer, who knows a thing or two about constitutional law, is constitutionally outraged at the suggestion that the government might change the law to get around this decision.