Two environmental groups yesterday took their fight against New Zealand King Salmon's expansion plans to the Supreme Court.
Marlborough group Sustain Our Sounds and national group Environmental Defence Society have applied for leave to appeal against a High Court ruling which upheld the decision by the Environmental Protection Authority to approve four new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said the decision to appeal was "extremely disappointing" and put pressure on the company. The Supreme Court has to approve the appeal before it can go ahead.
An EPA board of inquiry approved new salmon farms at Richmond, Waitata, Port Gore, and Ngamahau in February this year. The High Court upheld that decision last month.
Sustain Our Sounds chairman Danny Boulton said the group had decided to appeal because of the interest in clarifying the law about how a Board of Inquiry should approach its decision-making regarding a proposal of national significance.
"This is the first time a Board of Inquiry has considered a plan change and resource consents concurrently. We do not accept its reliance on elaborate resource consent conditions to protect the environment."
Mr Boulton said: "New Zealand's 100% Pure brand has not fared well in the past month. NZ King Salmon's expansion would add a further nitrogen bomb to our waterways, which can no longer be described as pristine."
Mr Boulton said the group was applying to go to the Supreme Court to "support the life-carrying capacity of the Marlborough Sounds against polluters".
Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor said his group argued that the High Court made errors of law regarding two sites: Port Gore and Waitata.
"Our concerns relate to the way the High Court [and the earlier Board of Inquiry] applied the provisions of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 and to the sequence in which the plan changes and the resource consents were considered."
Mr Rosewarne said King Salmon employed 425 workers, relying on two surface hectares in the Marlborough Sounds, at Te Pangu and Clay Point in Tory Channel.
"The others are quite marginal. We would rather trade them or swap them for better space. They are not as productive as those two in Tory Channel.
"We will need the six hectares to come on board to offset the change to biosecure systems for our farms."
Mr Rosewarne said the delays put jobs at risk. Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News