High Court Judgments of Public Interest
This page provides access to judgments of the High Court in the last 90 days deemed to be of particular public interest.
More information about finding court judgments is available on the Judgments section of this website.
It is the responsibility of users of the information contained in these decisions to ensure compliance with conditions or other legal obligations governing access, release, storage and re-publication. See also the guide on statutory provisions that prohibit publication of certain information in certain circumstances (PDF, 211 KB). If in doubt you should consult the court that issued the decision(s). Judicial decisions are presented in PDF format to preserve the integrity of the documents.
Appeals limited to questions of law. Principal appeal was brought by Forest and Bird with the support of Ngāti Whātua, that Board erred in law by finding for the purposes of s 104D(1)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991 that the proposed EWL was not contrary to the objectives and policies of the Auckland Unitary Plan ("AUP"). Forest and Bird relied upon requirement in chapter D9 of the AUP which required more than minor adverse effects to be avoided, and the Board had confirmed that this was not possible in the event the proposed EWL proceeded.
Held : Notwithstanding chapter D9 (and also chapters F2 and E15), chapter E26 specifically provided a framework for consideration of infrastructure which meant that Board correct in concluding the proposed EWL was not contrary to the objectives and policies of the AUP.
On the second appeal, brought by Ngāti Whātua and Forest and Bird, at issue was whether the Board had had regard/particular regard Ito the NZCPS as required by ss 104 and 171 of the RMA.
Held : Clear with reference to the decision that the Board had considered the NZCPS as it was required to do in terms of both ss 104 and 171 and no error of law.
Both appeals dismissed
1) Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa's claim to legitimate expectation; and,
2) unreasonableness because the Council gave only cursory attention to the potential for conflict between pedestrian use especially by resident children, and increased vehicle movement generated by the service station. TRONA's claim to affected person status not successful. While an iwi authority may qualify as an affected person, particularly in relation to matters of iwi level concern, the Court found localised traffic effects were not such a matter.
Whether Council entitled to higher award of costs for certain steps in the proceeding because of complexity of claim and because application did not abandon claims that were not advanced further at hearing?
-whether costs award for other parties should be discounted because Council had major role in opposing claim?
-whether costs payable by applicant should be discounted because claim included matters of public interest?
-whether payment of costs should be deferred because applicant appealing judgment?
HELD: Sustainable Otakiri Incorporated and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa not have standing to become party to each other's appeal under s 301 of the RMA. The combined nature of the "Jurisdictional Overview" section of the majority's decision means the alleged error as to the relevance of end use effects of plastic bottles arises in relation to both the Regional and District consent appeals. The EC did not exclude consideration of the end use of exporting the bottled water, irrespective of its conclusion in the Jurisdictional Overview (which went too far). It went on to make factual findings not susceptible to challenge on a s 299 appeal. The EC majority did not err in law when concluding the effects on the environment of using plastic bottles were beyond the scope of consideration in relation to Creswell's application for consent to take water, but the effects of plastic disposal may not as a matter of law always be too remote to warrant consideration - it is a matter of fact and degree. The EC did not err in concluding that the Regional plans addressed issues relating to the taking of water from aquifers comprehensively . Recourse to Part 2 of the RMA was not required . In relation to the District consents appeal, the relevant activity is appropriately characterised as a discretionary "rural processing activity" rather than a non-complying "industrial activity". The majority also did not err in concluding that Creswell's proposal was appropriately processed as a variation to existing land use consent conditions under s 127 of the RMA.
RESULT : Appeals dismissed.
Held: the challenged Parole Board decisions misapplied the statutory test, failed to take into account relevant considerations and were unreasonable. Mr Vincent's risk did not justify his continued detention and his s 22 NZBORA rights had been breached. Declaratory relief granted and the most recent Parole Board decision was set aside and an order was made for Mr Vincent to be released.
*a resolution by the Board of Nine Entertainment to close Stuff if a sale could not be concluded by 31 May 2020; and
*the fact that NZME and Nine Entertainment had explored applying for Commerce Commission clearance for NZME's proposed acquisition of Stuff on a "failing firm" basis.