ECan's stay request on Brownlee ruling dismissed

Environment Canterbury's request for a stay of the High Court's decision to quash development boundary changes made under earthquake recovery powers has been dismissed.

In his written decision, Justice Chisholm says he declined ECan's application for a stay while the regional council appeals the decision, on the grounds that he did not have the jurisdiction to grant it.

''The court is being asked to effectively reinstate an instrument/decision it has found to be unlawful.''

ECan's request for a stay was supported by the Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Christchurch International Airport and residential developer Highfield Park.

ECan's appeal of Justice Chisholm's decision, which was released last week, will continue to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Chisholm's ruling set aside changes Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee made to the 1998 regional policy statement, the blueprint for where development should go in Greater Christchurch.

He ruled that Brownlee ''stepped outside the legal limits'' of his earthquake powers in decisions redrawing Canterbury housing boundaries.

Brownlee's changes ended appeals that were going to be heard in the Environment Court over boundary changes and excluded several property developers' land from residential development.

In documents filed with the court, ECan says Justice Chisholm's ruling was wrong on all grounds.

ECan had asked for a stay because of the uncertainty its appeal has created and that ''the overall balance of convenience favours the status quo''.

ECan is one of the Urban Design Strategy (UDS) partners that wrote the boundaries strategy, along with the Christchurch City Council, the Waimakariri and Selwyn district councils and the NZ Transport Agency.

The Press