Rena Case Going to Enviro Court

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council announced today that it has decided to refer the application to leave the rest of the Rena wreck on Astrolabe reef to the Environment Court. The council saw the writing on the wall: it was going to wind up there anyway, via appeals.  The Chief Executive, Mary-Anne Macleod was quoted in the BOPRC’s media release as saying:

 “First, it is clear from comments made by interested parties and submitters that any decision made by the Council is likely to be appealed to the Environment Court anyway. Given the inevitability of an appeal, it makes no sense to impose duplicate costs on those submitters who wish to appear in person. Also the costs to the ratepayer would be significantly increased if the Council were to hold its own hearings, only to have to participate again at an Environment Court level.”

The so-called Astrolabe Community Trust, set up by the owners and insurers of the Rena, have lots of money to fight this in the court and they wanted it to go there, while opponents will have to scrape up what they can since it seems likely our ‘representatives’ (the various councils) will be about as useful at protecting residents and the environment from shippers and insurers as the councils around Waihi are in protecting residents there from mining companies. Still, now that it’s gone to the court, there will be a bit of money available for objectors through the Govt to fund their case. I think a maximum of $40,000 if memory serves.

And while I’m whining about the media (oh, wait, but I wasn’t), how come the BOP Times gets to put their own tagline on this story: Rena Application Goes to Environment Court. Can you see any difference between that and the media release titled Rena Application Heads for Environment Court? (OK, “Goes” rather than “heads”). Could they at least have “added some value” by getting comment from some of the interested parties?

In related content, my previous post was on this issue, and was titled The Rena Sellout.