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SOAC very pleased with High Court Decision

SOAC very pleased with High Court Decision

SOAC is very pleased with the High Court decision today. Let us explain why. We came to the Court to seek help on three issues:

FIRST that the Court would recognise that the Music School controversy is a matter of serious public interest for Christchurch and New Zealand and that those who oppose it are perfectly entitled to do so in the public interest. Rather than being a small, screeching publicity seeking minority as we have been characterised by proponents of Arts Centre site in the media, Mr Justice Fogarty was perfectly clear that the issue is a matter of widespread public concern and he repeated several times that he viewed it as one of serious public interest. We are delighted with his comments.

SECOND: We wanted the Court to order that the subdivision application should be heard at the same time as the resource consent application for the building. It is very important to SOAC that these two issues not be separated as the Arts Centre argued before the Court. The Judge did not rule directly on this in his decision but noted judicially the understandings that had been reached during the hearing that these two matters should be heard together. We are delighted with this result as well.

THIRD: We wanted the Court to order an interim injunction to put the resource consent timing on hold while SOAC went to the High Court to argue that the Arts Centre Trust Board was acting ultra vires i.e. outside its trust deed. We were enormously heartened by the Judge saying that we had a seriously arguable case and that instead of an interim injunction, he would order a brand new High Court procedure called the Fast Track. He recognised specifically the need for our High Court case to be held very close to the resource consent case and has started this new procedure already by ordering a meeting of counsel for the first week in February.

He specifically said that the Resource Management Act cannot resolve the Trust deed issues so there must be two streams of litigation as close together as possible. So we didn't get the high court injunction, but we got an alternative, the Fast Track procedure, which we didn't know existed, and we are content with this as a solution.

Those proposing the building at the Arts Centre should think seriously about the Judge's statement that it would be possible to succeed on the resource consent application and yet still fall down on Trust Deed issue in the High Court.


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