Last year, we learned that the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council had been colluding with farmers to enable them to evade regional plan restrictions on nitrogen leeching. In response, Fish & Game took them to court to force the regional plan to be enforced properly. And today, they won:
Fish & Game and EDS have welcomed the release of the Environment Court’s favourable decision on implementation of the Horizons Regional Council’s One Plan.
“The Court has agreed with our concerns and its findings in issuing the declarations confirm that Horizons has not been interpreting and implementing its One Plan in conformity with the law. The Council has not been working within freshwater limits.”
“The Court found that Horizons’ implementation has been unlawful and its decisions fundamentally deficient and that raises questions about what it is going to do about it,” continued Mr Johnson.
Hopefully this means the unlawful consents will be reviewed and those farmers forced to clean up their acts. And hopefully it will also dissuade other regional councils from pulling similar stunts. If a council passes a regional plan for cleaner rivers, they have to enforce it - regardless of special pleading from the dirty dairying lobby.