EPA wins judicial review application

12 December 2017

The Environmental Protection Authority has won the case brought against it for a judicial review of its cost recovery process.

Justice Clark said in her summary of the case: “I am satisfied…. that the EPA’s processes are robust. There is no room for an argument that the scope of the appropriation extends to processing particular marine consent applications.”

EPA Chief Executive Allan Freeth said: “We take comfort in the Court’s confidence in the robustness of our processes. The decision upholds the intent of the Exclusive Economic Zone legislation that the EPA should be recovering all costs from applicants for marine consents.

“I look forward to Chatham Rock Phosphate fulfilling their obligation to New Zealand taxpayers.”

Chatham Rock Phosphate owes the EPA $795,000. The Exclusive Economic Zone Act provides that the EPA must recover the costs associated with the marine consent process.

The company challenged the right of the EPA to recover all of the costs of the application, claiming that some costs should be funded by taxpayers. The case was heard before the High Court in Wellington over two days in March 2017.

In February 2015 the EPA refused the company’s marine consent application to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise on the grounds that mining would cause significant and permanent adverse effects on the existing benthic environment.