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Cape Kidnappers decision welcomed

Cape Kidnappers decision welcomed

The Environment Court rejection of the proposed massive development on iconic Cape Kidnappers by billionaire Julian Robertson has been welcomed by Forest and Bird’s local branches.

“The Hastings-Havelock North and Napier branches were very concerned about the effects of this proposal on the landscapes, natural character and native seabirds at Cape Kidnappers,” said Hastings-Havelock North branch chairperson Peter Collins.

“Cape Kidnappers is an important breeding location for gannets and other native sea birds. It would have been inappropriate to locate such a major development so close to the gannet breeding colonies,” Mr Collins said.

“The area is also an outstanding coastal landscape with considerable natural character. The Resource Management Act is meant to protect the natural character of the coast and today the Environment Court did just that,” he said.

“Councils have to take note of what the people ask of them and stay within their own rules. They jumped the fence on this one by allowing a proposal that was 77 times the size of what was permitted by the District Plan,” he said.

Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell said that the Court’s criticism of the Hastings District Council should be a wake-up call for the Government.

“The Environment Court found that Hastings District Council had adopted an uncompromisingly partisan approach on behalf of the developers. There is no way council hearing panels should be given the power to strike out submissions if some cannot be trusted to act impartially,” Mr Hackwell said.

“This decision reinforces the fundamental role that the Environment Court plays in securing environmental justice,” he said.

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