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Hearing Process FAQs

http://www.gw.govt.nz/hearing-process-faqs

Hearing Process FAQs

Updated 1 August 2019 11:30am

Who is on the Hearing Panel and what is its role?

The Hearing Panel consisted of three independent commissioners: Mark St Clair (Chair), David McMahon and Elizabeth Burge. The panel’s role was to hear submissions and evidence on the proposed Natural Resource Plan (the proposed Plan) and decide any changes the panel think should be made to the proposed Plan.

When were the hearings held?

The hearings began in May 2017 and were completed in July 2018.

When did the Panel release their Decisions on Submissions?

The Hearing Panel provided its decisions on the provisions and matters raised in submissions, once they had received all the information required, and completed their deliberations. An extension to the time limit was granted to 31 July 2019.

The extensions to timelines were due primarily to the significance and complexity involved in reviewing and integrating five regional plans, and providing a hearing structure that enabled fair participation by submitters across a large region, covering a complex range of topics, and to enable officer's sufficient time to prepare and respond to matters raised during the hearing process.

Public notification of Decisions on submissions?

In accordance with Clauses 10 and 11 of Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991, the Wellington Regional Council gave notice on 31 July 2019 that it has made its decisions on the provisions and matters raised in submissions on the proposed Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington Region. From the date of the public notice (31 July 2019) the proposed Natural Resources Plan is amended in accordance with those decisions (decisions version).

Appeals?

Any person who made a submission on the proposed Natural Resources Plan may appeal the Council’s decisions to the Environment Court. Please note that you may only appeal on a provision or a matter in the decisions if you referred to the relevant provision or matter in your submission. An appeal cannot seek the withdrawal of the proposed Natural Resources Plan as a whole.

Any appeal to the Environment Court must be in the prescribed form and lodged with the Environment Court in Wellington by 5pm, 18 September 2019. The appeal must be served in accordance with the Court's directions. All notices of appeal will be posted in full on the portal.

Any section 274 notice to join an appeal must be in the prescribed form and lodged with the Environment Court in Wellington by 5pm, 9 October 2019. The notice must also be served in accordance with the Court's directions. All section 274 notices will be posted in full on the portal.

Court directions?

The Environment Court issued waivers and directions in respect of the filing and service of appeals and section 274 notices (refer Re Wellington Regional Council [2019] NZEnvC 126 dated 26 July 2019). A copy of the Environment Court directions are available on the Portal.

Why did the hearings take so long?

The hearings were split into topic areas, such as Water quality and Stormwater, heard over six hearing streams and in various locations throughout the Wellington region. The complexity and considerable time required for preparing and receiving evidence, undertaking expert conferencing and conducting the hearings meant that they took much longer than initially estimated (from May 2017 to July 2018). Over 400 people presented evidence to the Panel. The Panel received over 890 technical reports, legal submissions, expert conferencing, rebuttal evidenace and supplementary responses throughout the hearing process. 

Hearing topic(s)?

All of the 11,455 submission points have been coded to a plan topic. If you stated in your submission that you wish to be heard at the hearing, you were invited to the hearing(s) on the topic(s) that your submission related to. This meant that you may have been required to attend more than one hearing if you submitted on multiple parts of the proposed Plan.