Eight weeks of hearings end
The Environmental Protection Authority hearing to decide whether New Zealand King Salmon can develop more fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds came to a close yesterday after nearly eight weeks.
Judge Gordon Whiting said the board of inquiry could release a draft decision on King Salmon's application in five to six weeks.
Tensions raised in Marlborough over the inquiry were reflected in 1293 submissions presented to the board, 7500 pages of evidence and 3900 pages of transcript, Judge Whiting said.
The hearing was initially expected to take up to 10 weeks.
Deadlines were lagging on Tuesday after King Salmon planner Sarah Dawson spent three days in the witness stand.
The board then made it clear they intended to be out of Marlborough before the end of the week and all but four opponents agreed not to speak to written closing statements.
The board of inquiry has applied to Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson to extend its deadline for writing a final report, from December 31 until February 22, but expected to release a draft by December 19.
A spokeswoman for Ms Wilkinson said the minister was overseas but intended to look at the extension request when she returned to New Zealand late next week.
- The Marlborough Express