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Increased Resources For The Environment Court

The Environment Court is to get an additional judge and extra funding of $2.1 million over three years to alleviate pressures on the caseload, Courts Minister Matt Robson and Environment Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"This will take the Environment Court bench to seven permanent judges and two alternates," Matt Robson said. "With the recent appointment of new Principal Environment Judge, Joan Allin, this means an extra two judges since April this year."

Marian Hobbs said these decisions would have a real impact on reducing compliance costs.

"Delays cost everyone in time and money and the additional resources will be welcomed by environmentalists and developers alike," Marian Hobbs said. "There's also a pressing need to resolve appeals on district and regional plans that've been outstanding for two years or more. Once plans are operational it will be easier for people to work through Resource Management Act processes."

Matt Robson said the Court is currently reviewing its case management techniques. Pro-active case management, regular callovers of cases and the further promotion of the Court’s mediation service will also contribute to the efficient processing of cases through the Environment Court.

The Environment Court currently has approximately 3,000 cases before it, of which just under 1900 are references on council plans and just under 800 are appeals on resource consents.

Ends

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