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Council protocol will help reduce court battles

MEDIA RELEASE

Council protocol will help reduce costly court battles

For immediate release: Wednesday 2 August 2006

Bay of Plenty councils are working together better – and it will save ratepayers’ money.

Environment Bay of Plenty and the region’s district and city councils are signing up to a protocol that will reduce the chance of costly battles in the Environment Court.

The protocol sets down a clear process for making comments and submissions on each other’s policies and plans, says Environment Bay of Plenty chief executive Bill Bayfield. It makes sure organisations know what others want to do before they do it. It will ensure discussions take place before a plan is drafted. It also includes protocols for council hearings and appeals to the Environment Court.

Mr Bayfield says the agreement will encourage early and meaningful consultation. “It’s a great working tool. It will foster good practice, help us avoid misunderstandings and generally make the process more efficient,” he explains. “It will help make sure we don’t end up battling each other needlessly in the Environment Court.”

Mr Bayfield says the arrangement is better for the community. “We achieve more when we work well together.”

ENDS

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