15 Nov 2012

Challenges to Environment Canterbury Act tipped

11:57 am on 15 November 2012

A group of lawyers and planners says the Environment Canterbury Act may end up encouraging more legal challenges rather than discouraging them, as it was intended to do.

The submission came at a select committee hearing on a bill seeking to extend the Act and not allow regional council elections until 2016 at the earliest.

Introduced in 2010, the Act replaced elected council members with Commissioners and removed the right to appeal council decisions to the Environment Court.

The Resource Management Law Association said the removal of this right increases the chances of bad decisions being made by the commissioners.

The association said this could lead to legal challenges to the High Court further down the track and lead to the very delays the Government was seeking to avoid by introducing the Act in the first place.