Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


RMA call-in on geothermal project results

13 September 2008 Media Statement
Embargoed until 10am

RMA call-in on geothermal project results in fast decision

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard today welcomed the Board of Inquiry’s final decision regarding Contact Energy Limited’s proposed Te Mihi geothermal power station near Taupo, and thanked the board for an effective and efficient process.

On 22 January this year, Trevor Mallard called in Contact’s applications for the Te Mihi proposal because of its national significance and appointed Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting to lead a Board of Inquiry. The call-in combined the local council’s consideration and a potential Environment Court appeal process into a single consideration by the board. Following a public submission process and a three-day hearing, the board made a final decision on the application in accordance with district and regional plans.

"I would like to congratulate Judge Whiting and his board on its timely and well-considered decision making. The board has demonstrated how well the Resource Management Act’s (RMA) call-in process can work," Trevor Mallard said.

"This is the first time since amendments to the RMA in 2005 that a Board of Inquiry has made a final decision on a called-in consent application, so it’s a significant milestone for the RMA.

"The time taken for this project to be approved completely puts paid to suggestions that the RMA can delay projects for years. It completely destroys National's argument that it needs to change the RMA, and cut the public out of the process in order to get infrastructure projects approved within its nine month deadline.

"As this decision demonstrates, changes to the RMA are not needed and projects can be approved within acceptable timeframes – with public input and consultation secured throughout the process. Unlike National, Labour believes public input must be protected regardless of the project that is proposed.

"Throughout the call-in process, the board adopted good practice approaches, including pre-hearing meetings to resolve outstanding issues, and pre-circulating evidence which would be taken as read at the hearing.

"The parties involved in the decision making process should also be commended for working to resolve the issues before a decision was made by the board," Trevor Mallard said.

The Board's decision is at Other background information follows.

Background information

The board’s decision can only be appealed to the High Court on points of law.

Since the 2005 changes to the Resource Management Act, there have been four call-ins announced by Environment Minister Trevor Mallard:

• Transpower’s North Island Grid Upgrade project (announced in August 2007; hearing underway).

• Unison Networks Limited’s proposed Ta Waka wind farm in Hawke’s Bay (announced in December 2007; submissions closed; Environment Court consideration expected to begin in December).

• Contact Energy’s Te Mihi geothermal power station (announced in January 2008; decision announced in September 2008).

• Contact Wind Limited and Contact Energy’s Hauauru ma Raki wind farm near Raglan (announced in August 2008).

For more information about ministerial interventions for proposals of national significance (such as call-ins) under the RMA go to Q and A at


Contact: Astrid Smeele (press secretary) 04 4719080 or 021 2279080.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“With nearly half of New Zealanders renting, the grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them,” said Green Party social housing spokesperson Marama Davidson. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election