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Ngāti Ruanui is optimistic in seabed mining appeal


Ngāti Ruanui legal team under QC Richard Fowler concluded with compelling performances from lawyers Horiana Irwin-Easthorpe and Natalie Coates. Irwin-Easthorpe referred to Judge Joe Williams writings and took the court through the provisions of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Act that include kaitiakitanga as an active interest stating the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Decision Making Committee (DMC) carried out a lip service exercise towards Māori and Iwi interests. Lawyer Natalie Coates argued that the Iwi interests are encapsulated by the Treaty Settlements and giving affect to the Tiriti were ignored along with fishing rights in the EEZ. They argued that you cannot separate the connections between Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tikanga and the role of Kaitiaki, which must be considered together.

The Court of Appeal Judges Panel noted the legal team arguments and how the link to the EEZ Act purpose was a powerful one.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said, “A full range of issues have been set out over the last two days about adaptive management prohibition and what went wrong with the decision made by the EPA including not having enough information to even allow the Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) application to proceed to a decision. The Court of Appeal will need to consider many different arguments but Ngāti Ruanui is optimistic that based on the legal errors the appeal will be successful in rejecting the application as a whole”.

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