• Media release

14 Mar 2023

2023 03 14 14 46 42 Document1 CoA2

The High Court has found that Southland District Council was correct in its decision to grant New Brighton Colleries Ltd access to Council-owned forestry land near Ohai for coal exploration.

Council’s decision had been challenged by the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand.

In its judgment released on 6 March 2023, the High Court said that none of Forest & Bird’s grounds for review of SDC’s decision were upheld and it dismissed the application.

The court judgement says: “There was a distinct logic to the Council’s approach in reaching the decision.”

The judgement finds that “it was reasonable, in reaching the access decision, that the Council have regard to the fact there would be later opportunities for consultation and input at the point when the actual extraction of coal was for consideration.”

Southland District Mayor Rob Scott said it was a vindication of Council’s methodology in deciding to grant New Brighton Colleries access for exploration only.

“We ensured that there was going to be an opportunity for the public to have their input in a final decision by requiring the consent to be publicly notified if it proceeded to the next stage.

“The judgement has reflected that Council followed a sound process in reaching its decision in this matter.”

He would be making no further comment about the decision.

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