Judge critical of 'time-wasting'

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 12:00 14/09/2012

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Judge Gordon Whiting yesterday scolded people who criticised consent conditions suggested by New Zealand King Salmon without offering alternatives.

He stopped Department of Conservation lawyer Shona Bradley part-way through her opening statement when she started listing problems with conditions.

"If you want the conditions changed you will have to come up with the wording," Judge Whiting said.

He said the Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry he chairs would not write the conditions if they decided King Salmon could expand its fish-farming operations in the Marlborough Sounds.

Rather than parties arguing in front of the panel, the board suggested commissioner Helen Beaumont chair a meeting of planners with the sole task of writing conditions.

This could happen about October 5, following hearing sessions being held at the Waikawa Marae in Picton over the previous two days, Judge Whiting said. The board could then hear issues which remained rather than wasting time at this stage, he said.

Ms Bradley and Marlborough District Council lawyer Stephen Quinn said meeting on technical as well as planning issues would be useful.

Judge Whiting said technical experts' evidence was complete and it would cost too much to bring them back. Because they were boffins, not wordsmiths, they shied away from writing conditions, which left the job to King Salmon planner Sarah Dawson of Boffa Miskell.

"This document is getting unnecessarily complex and could be simplified," Judge Whiting said. "This has come about as a result of meeting the demands of experts."

Judge Whiting stressed that the board could not decide whether effects of proposed farms would be acceptable, without knowing proposed consent conditions.

Ms Jamieson criticised King Salmon for failing to track ongoing changes to conditions, which made it hard to spot alterations.

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- The Marlborough Express

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