26 Sep 2013

Positive spin on lost legal battle

1:48 pm on 26 September 2013

Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand are putting on their bravest faces after losing their expensive legal appeals protesting against a potentially revolutionary new nutrient loss management system in the Manawatu Whanganui region.

The High Court this week dismissed their appeals against Horizons Regional Council's One Plan.

However, both groups say the loss in court was a victory of sorts.

Horticulture New Zealand's resource management and environment manager Chris Keenan says the grower group has spent a lot of money on legal costs and expects it may be liable for costs after losing in the High Court.

But Mr Keenan says there is more to the decision than meets the eye.

"While every appeal point was lost, I think when you read the decision we won most of the battles of substance," he says.

The chief executive of Fish and Game, which backs the One Plan, says he finds it hard to swallow Horticulture New Zealand's claims, and similar ones made by Federated Farmers, that they have done well out of the court cases they comprehensively lost.

Bryce Johnson says the two parties lost virtually every single claim they made.

He says he expects similar environment plans will be rolled out by other regional councils throughout the country.