Friday, May 20, 2011

Another bite at the cherry

Back in February, a government-appointed board of inquiry granted resource consent for Mighty River Power's proposed Turitea wind farm. However, Mighty River didn't get everything it wanted, with consent granted for only 60 turbines out of a planned 105. This threatened the viability of the project, so Mighty River is back for another bite of the cherry:

Mighty River Power has reignited the battle over the Turitea Wind Farm with a push to add 12 extra turbines to make the project viable – despite a draft decision already being issued capping the number at 60.

The power company has asked the board of inquiry that heard its application for resource consent last year to reconvene to hear its revised plans.

Opponents who have made what they thought were final submissions on the board's draft decision are aghast at the prospect.

This makes a mockery of the entire process. The board of inquiry has already held hearings on these issues, and reached a decision. The law simply does not contemplate this sort of "do-over". But because it doesn't explicitly rule it out either, Mighty River can try it on, and try and bully the board into giving them what it wants. And sadly, the board has only themselves to blame on this; they've been slack about producing a final report (despite a legal requirement to produce one "as soon as practicable"), which leaves space for Mighty River to try this sort of stunt.

Once the Board produces a final report, Mighty River can appeal it to the High Court. The fact that they are instead trying this sort of whining speaks volumes about their expectations of winning there.