There are currently four projects of national significance being heard by specially constituted Boards of Inquiry under Part 6AA RMA. Draft decisions and reports have been released for three of the projects, with final decisions and reports due for each shortly. The final decision and report for the fourth project is presently on appeal to the High Court.
The four projects are:
Ara Tūhono: Pūhoi to Wellsford, Pūhoi to Warkworth section – the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) lodged applications for the Pūhoi to Warkworth section of the Ara Tūhono - Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August 2013. The project involves the construction, operation and maintenance of an 18.5km section of State highway 1 from the northern end of the existing Northern Gateway Toll Road, to just north of Warkworth. The Board (chaired by the Honourable John Priestley QC) released its draft decision and report in July 2014. The Board confirmed NZTA’s two notices of requirement and granted the 15 associated resource consents. The comments period for the draft decision and report closed on 22 August 2014. The Board is currently preparing its final decision and report, expected to be released around 12 September 2014.
Ruakura Development Plan Change – in June 2013, Tainui Group Holdings and Chedworth Park Ltd requested a change to the operative Hamilton District Plan: Waikato Section. The plan change is to enable development of up to 389 ha of land at Ruakura, including for an inland port. The Board (chaired by Judge Melanie Harland) released its draft decision and report, approving the plan change with amendments, on 5 August 2014. The comments period for the draft decision and report closes on 2 September 2014. The Board’s final decision and report is expected to be released around 11 September 2014.
Basin Bridge – also in June 2013, the NZTA lodged applications for its Basin Bridge project in central Wellington with the EPA. The project is one of seven which collectively comprise the Wellington Northern Corridor Road of National Significance. It involves construction of a 263m two-lane (one-way) bridge for State highway 1 westbound traffic, on the northern side of the Basin Reserve. This would partially separate State highway from local traffic on the roading network which circles the Basin Reserve. The Board (chaired by retired Judge Gordon Whiting) released its draft decision and report on 22 July 2014. The Board cancelled NZTA’s notice of requirement, and accordingly declined the five associated resource consents. The comments period for the draft decision and report closed on 19 August 2014. The Board is currently preparing its final decision and report, expected to be released around 30 August 2014.
Tukituki Catchment Proposal – in May 2013, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company lodged a notice of requirement and resource consent applications for its Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme with the EPA. These matters were then combined with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s proposed Plan Change 6, which covers a suite of changes to rules for land and water management, to form the Tukituki Catchment Proposal. The Board released its final decision and report on the combined project in June 2014. The Board approved the plan change request with amendments, confirmed the notice of requirement and granted the 17 associated resource consents. Two appeals have subsequently been filed by the Hawke’s Bay and Eastern Fish and Game Councils, and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. These are currently being processed by the Wellington High Court.
These decisions add to those made by various Boards since the beginning of 2013, including for the Peka Peka to North ŌtakiExpressway (granted), Christchurch Southern Motorway (granted), MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway (granted), and New Zealand King Salmon (partially declined/partially granted, then successfully appealed to the Supreme Court).
ChanceryGreen has extensive experience on large infrastructure projects, including those that are subject to call-in. For information on how we can assist in this regard, please contact one of our Senior Team.