Date: 15 December 2016
The Supreme Court has granted the Minister of Conservation leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's decision relating to the land at the centre of the Ruataniwha water storage scheme.
Last year the Director-General of Conservation decided to revoke the conservation park status of 22ha of conservation land needed for the water storage scheme and exchange it for 170 hectares of land. His decision enabled an exchange and addition of land that would enhance public conservation land, particularly for the Ruahine Forest Park.
However, the Court of Appeal said the focus should have been on the values of the 22ha of land being revoked, rather than the broader benefits to conservation and the Park.
DOC's Director General Lou Sanson says the Court of Appeal's decision affects the way public conservation land is managed in New Zealand.
"This is not about the dam. We need absolute clarity on whether the Department can, through considering the purposes of the Conservation Act, enable decisions that have the potential to enhance public conservation land," he says.
The hearing will be held early next year and the Department will not be commenting further while the case is before the court.
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