Chatham Rock Comments on Recent Court Decision

- August 30th, 2018

Chatham Rock Phosphate is based in New Zealand and focused on production of pastoral phosphate fertilizer. 

Chatham Rock Phosphate (NZP:CRP), has released a statement related to the decision made in the High Court of New Zealand on August 28, 2018. The court heard arguments to quash the decision to grant a Marine Consent to Trans-Tasman Resources, on the basis that the Decision Making Committee (DMC) erred in applying an adaptive management approach to discharges, in contravention of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effect) Act 2012.

As quoted from the press release:

CRP also notes that the remaining eight points of appeal were rejected, including all appeals relating to existing interests. CRP considers that these decisions will provide important precedents for future marine consent applications.

While Churchman J found that the DMC was not permitted to use an adaptive management approach, CRP takes comfort in the significant comments made by Churchman J that appear to support the implementation of adaptive management. CRP particularly agrees with the findings of Churchman J that:

“An adaptive management approach is available in relation to marine consents applying to activities undertaken within the territorial waters, and therefore governed by the RMA and NZCPS”;

“An adaptive management approach would seem to be ideally suited in cases where there was uncertainty as to the effects on the environment of a marine discharge consent”; and

“It is not obvious why parliament chose to classify the discharge of the residue of seabed mining activities as the discharge of a hazardous substance (and thereby to make adaptive management unavailable). It cannot have been to further New Zealand’s international obligations because the relevant international conventions restrict the prohibition of adaptive management to dumping rather than discharge”
CRP considers the findings of Churchman J provide a comprehensive platform to support a prompt amendment of the EEZ Act and will be strongly urging government agencies to amend the EEZ Act in this regard, to bring it into accordance with other existing domestic and international legislation, and to reflect best environmental practice.

Click here to read the full announcement 

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