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Carter delegates decision on Whangamata marina

12 October 2006

Carter delegates decision on Whangamata marina

Conservation Minister Chris Carter has decided not to appeal a High Court ruling overturning his decision to refuse an application for a marina in Whangamata Harbour.

He has also decided to delegate the next decision on the marina application to Environment Minister David Benson-Pope.

"Although elements of Justice Fogarty's decision about the process I used to come to my original decision on the Whangamata Marina are contested by lawyers, I am not convinced that an appeal of his ruling would resolve the debate speedily," Mr Carter said today.

"The priority is that the people of New Zealand who care about Whangamata have certainty about the future of their harbour.

"Justice Fogarty rejected any claims I was biased or had predetermined my original decision and referred it back to me for re-examination, but he also gave me the option of referring it to another Minister. After careful consideration of the High Court's judgment, I have decided to take this option," Mr Carter said.

"Although I am certain I could make a new decision, it is imperative people on both sides of this issue see the decision-maker as impartial. If I were to make a second decision, it could be perceived as tainted by my original decision and the events following it, regardless of what decision I made.

"For this reason, I have selected Environment Minister David Benson-Pope as the new decision-maker," Mr Carter said.

"Mr Benson-Pope is the Minister in charge of the Resource Management Act. After myself he is the Minister most familiar with the decision-making elements of the Act as they apply to restricted coastal permits.

"Mr Benson-Pope now has a court imposed timeframe to comply with in making a new decision, and I will remove myself completely from the process," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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