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Four new members of the Environment Court

Monday, 23 July 2001 Media Statement

Four new members of the Environment Court appointed

Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson has announced the appointment of four new members of the Environment Court.

The appointments increase the number of Environment Commissioners and Deputy Environment Commissioners by one to 16. The additional appointment is to assist the court in dealing with a backlog of cases.

Russell Howie of Wellington, Heather McConachy of Auckland, Diane Menzies of Christchurch and Charles Manning of Christchurch have each been appointed for five year terms.

Margaret Wilson thanked departing Commissioner James Dart and Deputy Commissioners Nedra Johnson and James Fitzmaurice for their service to the Court.

ENDS

Background note on the Environment Court„h

The major business of the Environment Court is hearing and deciding appeals from decisions on resource consent applications and references about the content of regional and district planning instruments under the Resource Management Act 1991. For those cases sittings of the Court are usually constituted by one Environment Judge and two Environment Commissioners.

The court can also make declarations on the interpretation and application of resource management law, make enforcement orders (similar to injunctions), and decide appeals from local authority abatement notices under the Resource Management Act. Those cases can be heard by an Environment Judge sitting alone, without Commissioners. Where the parties consent, Environment Commissioners may also sit alone to hear and decide cases specifically assigned to them.

Environment Judges also sit regularly in the District Court to hear prosecutions for offences under the Resource Management Act 1991.


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