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Horizon One Plan Appeal

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson showed her colours again today by refusing to accompany Fish and Game to the High Court to defend the Environment Court decision.  Here is today's Dom Post report.

Federated Farmers and Horticulture NZ have appealed, and it now falls on non-profit Fish and Game to carry to burden - and it will be substantial even although the grounds for appeal are restricted to points of law. But nevertheless, there remains a substantial risk in the twists and turns that the expensive briefs representing farming interests will bring to bear on the decision. They will put every word under the microscope in an attempt to find any excuse for having the decision overturned.

If you have any doubts about the problem just look at the front page of today's NZ Herald - even allowing for the Green's hyperbole, this is an increasing problem that is not going away, and neither is the dairy industry - horticulture is a bit player in the chorus by comparison. The National Policy Statement emerging from the Water Accord just does not cut it - the Government has thrown its weight behind rural interests and made sure that those interests have dominated the Forum, and progress through that course is unlikely.

Kate Wilkinson has had carriage of this in Government and has demonstrated on countless occasions her loyalty to National Party rural interests. It is why she will probably hold her job despite her otherwise totally undistinguished performance in all her portfolios to date. Even Key has indicated his frustration, but he will not move against her with the grass roots (no pun intended) support that she enjoys. 

It is likely that the Appeal will be heard in Wellington or Palmerston North in early 2013. The outcome remains in limbo, and the High Court will be well aware of the significance of the case by now. It will approach with great care knowing that if the case is thrown out, the likelihood of a further appeal to the Supreme Court is a pound to packet of peanuts. Finality is at least a year away, and all those who regard the decision as of critical importance to the future of this country can do in the meantime is hope and pray that the Environment Court decision is legally robust, and that the appeal is thrown out unequivocally.    




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