Urban Auckland wins port stoush

Proceeding with two wharf extensions without notification was flawed, a judge has found.

Ports of Auckland’s decision to proceed with two wharf extensions was "flawed" – and its consents have been set aside by a High Court judge.

Lobby group Urban Auckland took Ports of Auckland to court earlier this month, arguing resource consents for the proposed extensions to the Bledisloe Wharf should have been publicly notified.

Today Justice Geoffrey Venning sided with Urban Auckland, issuing a decision which says the consents issued on a non-notified basis are to be set aside.

He says Ports of Auckland’s decision to proceed was flawed for two reasons.

The applications should have been bundled, which would have required notification, and secondly, special circumstances existed which required notification.

“The commissioners fell into error in determining that, because the extension was a controlled activity and an expected development, no special circumstances existed so that it was unnecessary to notify in any event,” the judgment says.

“It may well be that ultimately the consents are granted but that should follow the proper process contemplated by the RMA on the facts of this case.

“The cost and commercial imperative in requiring notification is a significant factor but it cannot override the legal requirement for non-notification which the court has concluded is applicable in this case.”

Urban Auckland had argued the “intense public controversy” surrounding the proposed extensions meant the resource consent applications should have been publicly notified.

Read the decision here.

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