A commissioner hearing Ngai Tahu's application to convert part of the Hurunui Forest into irrigated dairy farming has been stood down over a possible conflict of interest.
A panel of commissioners has been hearing the controversial application by Ngai Tahu Forest Limited for water consent and land use changes in the forest area.
One of the submitters raised concerns that Commissioner Yvette Couch-Lewis also held a role with Ngai Tahu.
Forest and Bird Canterbury West Coast field officer Jen Miller said Forest and Bird, which has also submitted at the hearings, was asked for its views and agreed it was inappropriate.
Ms Couch-Lewis was stood down and the hearings will continue with the other two commissioners, who will decide on the applications.