Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


CRP concerned at potential for bias in EPA staff report

25 August 2014

CRP gravely concerned at potential for bias in EPA staff report

Chatham Rock Phosphate today announced it would be formally seeking the withdrawal of the Environmental Protection Authority’s staff report issued last week because of extremely worrying evidence which suggests the potential for bias.

CRP last week criticised both the content and timing of the EPA staff report on CRP's Marine Consent application. Now a new and potentially more serious basis for concern about the validity of the report and its conclusions has emerged.

CRP's Managing Director Chris Castle said today CRP considers the report to be potentially biased and therefore totally unreliable, and it intends to seek that the EPA staff report be formally withdrawn. CRP will shortly make an application to the EPA's decision-making committee for that to occur.

"It has come to CRP's attention that one of the key authors of the EPA staff report appears to have been a signatory to a Greenpeace petition in 2010 seeking the Government permanently stop all plans to open up New Zealand's coastal waters to offshore oil drilling and stop any expansion of coal mining in New Zealand. If this is the case, it raises very serious questions over the objectivity of the report and its conclusions.

"While I accept the subject matter of the petition does not refer directly to offshore mining projects such as ours, there is certainly a strong enough link between the subject matter of the petition and our project to raise an alarm. This is further compounded by the fact that Greenpeace is a key submitter in opposition to CRP's marine consent application.

“Any potential for a relationship with a submitter needs to be disclosed by EPA staff and, if any connection exists, the staff member simply should not be involved.

"We have asked the EPA to confirm whether the staff member was a signatory to the petition. The EPA's response has been the staff member is not and has never been a financial member of Greenpeace and, while the individual does not recall whether or not they signed the petition, the staff member has conceded it is possible that they may have signed it.

“We understand the staff member did confirm they have, from time to time, received communications from Greenpeace. We have asked the EPA to investigate the matter further, but the EPA advised it is satisfied with the individual's response.

"In the circumstances, that response is simply is not good enough. A hazy memory about such important matters is not convincing, and we believe the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is the staff member was in fact a signatory to the petition.

“If that is the case, it confirms our suspicions the report was not an objective or fair evaluation of the merits of CRP's proposal, quite apart from the other serious problems regarding accuracy, that we have identified with it.

“It is absolutely vital in a public process like this the people involved in assessing our proposal are objective and there is no possibility of bias. We do not have confidence this is the case and we believe there is a serious risk our application has not been fairly assessed.

"The only option is for the report to be formally withdrawn," said Mr Castle.

“This is an important issue for all public servants. The public must have confidence in their independence.

"While we understand it is already in the public domain, in our view there should be formal recognition the report has no value and will have no legal relevance to the rest of the marine consent process."

An application to the EPA's decision-making committee responsible for CRP's application will be made shortly.

"We are confident the decision making committee will share our concerns about the report and direct that it be withdrawn".

Mr Castle said CRP has identified numerous errors of fact in the report and the company also has concerns about conclusions drawn which conflict with expert evidence.

He said there is no reason for a staff report to contain any conclusions or recommendations as an input into the decision-making process. “This is particularly unfair as the views of staff cannot be tested through the Marine Consent process because they do not give evidence.”

Mr Castle said there was no need for a second staff report, nor is there any need for any delay to the marine consent process as all relevant issues will be fully aired before the decision making committee..

“The process underway involves several weeks of evidence and discussions between interested parties. That is the public process which matters, where anyone who has submitted on the proposal can be involved.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.
More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>

Earlier:

Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

More:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news