Monday, September 19, 2016

You shouldn't have to go to court to get the law enforced

Two years ago, the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council finally approved its "One Plan" after a 10 year struggle. The new regional plan imposed tough controls on nutrient leaching - cowshit - and required resource consent for intensive farming. The aim was simple: less shit would mean cleaner waterways, particularly the Manawatu River. But instead of enforcing its plan, Horizons then turned around and helped farmers to evade it, rubber-stamping consents allowing them to keep on polluting (and then trying to cover up the fact). And now, they're being taken to court in an effort to get them to enforce the law:

Legal proceedings are being filed against Horizons Regional Council over the implementation of its One Plan.

The council will be challenged in the Environment Court by the Environmental Defence Society and Fish & Game.

"We are concerned Horizons hasn't been implementing its regional plan lawfully, particularly when dealing with resource consent applications for intensive farming and dairy conversions," EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said.


The court will be asked to make a declaration on "legal questions" about the implementation of the plan in relation to [the] Resource Management Act, the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management and the One Plan.

The EDS should not have to do this. There's effectively a law on the books, and Horizons' job is to enforce it. Their refusal to do so to pander to a large sector group is frankly corrupt, and the idea that they're wasting ratepayer's money arguing that they should be allowed to do so utterly perverse. And with an election coming up, it will be fascinating to see where the various candidates stand on it.