Iwi in court to oppose sand appeal

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014

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A South Taranaki iwi has formally opposed a High Court action aimed at getting seabed mining off the ground again.

Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer confirmed the iwi had filed its own opposition to Trans Tasman Resources' (TTR) appeal of an Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) decision to decline its marine consent application to mine 50 million tonnes of ironsand a year from the South Taranaki seabed. TTR filed its appeal in early July.

Ngarewa-Packer said the reason for the iwi's ongoing involvement in the issue was simple. "We want to have EPA's decision upheld."

She said the move represented new territory for the iwi and information about the appeal process and what it entailed was still being gathered. "Our lawyers are doing a bit of investigation."

The iwi were committed to working where it could with other groups who had also voiced their opposition to the mining project, such as Kiwis Against Seabed Mining. "It's just the extent to how we all play together."

Ngarewa-Packer, who has been a vocal opponent of the mining company's bid from the outset, said she supported comments made by Taranaki Regional Council's director of resource consents Fred McLay in yesterday's Taranaki Daily News regarding the lack of information provided by TTR within its initial application.

Ngarewa-Packer said it was now a waiting game to see what the next step would be in the court process but she believed it would take some time to be resolved.

In June, the EPA released its decision to decline TTR's application due to a lack of information about the environmental effects of mining.

TTR's appeal, which had to be made on points of law, relates to areas of EPA's decision-making processes, including a failure to extend time-frames.

The first call of the matter in the High Court is on August 25.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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