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SKP’s Bold Fight For Justice Receives Support

SKP’s Bold Fight For Justice Receives Support From The High Court

On 24 April 2019, High Court Judge Justice Gault handed down judgment in respect of SKP Inc’s (SKP) to lodge its appeal late. While the High Court ultimately declined to exercise its discretion to allow SKP to file its appeal out of time, the judgment provides a major boost for SKP in the battle to stop Kennedy Point Boat Harbour Limited (“KPB”) constructing a controversial marina and the country’s first floating carpark at Kennedy Point Bay, Waiheke Island.

In its judgment, the High Court accepted that the issues raised by SKP in the proposed appeal are significant, and also reiterated the significance of cultural effects under Part 2 of the Resource Management Act. The High Court acknowledged that the representation issue (regarding the Ngati Paoa Trust Board and its mandate to represent Ngati Paoa in relation to the RMA matters) was not drawn to the Environment Court’s attention during the initial Environment Court proceedings.

Ultimately, the High Court’s view is that SKP’s rehearing application lodged with the Environment Court is the more appropriate forum. The effect of the High Court decision is that the matter is essentially back before the Environment Court (under SKP’s rehearing application) for the Environment Court to consider and determine what the impact is of the new evidence (since the Environment Court’s original decision) of the Trust Board’s strong opposition on behalf of Ngati Paoa to KPB’s proposed marina development.

In the judgment, Justice Gault states:

“...the issue raised by the proposed appeal are significant”...

“...it is not for [the High Court] to predict how the Environment Court would have assessed evidence from Trust Board witnesses contesting that given by the Iwi Trust. The Environment Court is best placed to decide whether that would have made a difference. This also indicates that the s294 application is the more appropriate course.”

Another important recent development has been the efforts by the Ngati Paoa Trust Board and the Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust (the Iwi Trust) to try and resolve their differences and look to work together for the betterment of Ngati Paoa iwi, whanau and hapu. The Trust Board and Iwi Trust are engaged in a formal court ordered mediation today.

David Baigent, Chairperson for SKP Inc says: “The developer, Tony Mair, thought that he and his company could just strong arm SKP and the Waiheke Community by trying to tire us and exhaust our resources, but today the High Court sided with the Trust Board, SKP and the community of Waiheke. The High Court has determined that SKP has a significant case to be heard, albeit that the Environment Court is the more appropriate and direct forum for that case to be heard. We are ecstatic that our concerted and dedicated efforts to protect the environment and to uplift the mana of Ngati Paoa were acknowledged by the Court today.”

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