The Environment Court has confirmed the Notice of Requirement from the Minister of Corrections to increase the capacity of Waikeria Prison to 3000 inmates. The decision can be viewed here [PDF, 5 MB].
This report is being provided pursuant to s198D of the Resource Management Act which requires that the Council provide a copy to both the Requiring Authority and all submitters.
While the s198D report includes a planner’s recommendation on the application; it is the Environment Court that will hear and determine this application in due course.
On 18 April Otorohanga District Council passed a resolution approving a request from the Minister of Corrections to directly refer this application (referred to as a Notice of Requirement) to the Environment Court for a decision. The Minister of Corrections will now make a formal application to the Environment Court to commence the direct referral process. A copy of the formal application will be sent to all submitters as well as Council. The direct referral process means the Notice of Requirement to increase the capacity of Waikeria Prison will be heard and determined in the first instance by a Judge appointed by the Environment Court, rather than by a panel of independent commissioners appointed by Council. This alternative process is provided for in the Resource Management Act 1991 (“RMA”).
The period for receiving public submissions closed on Thursday 25 May with nine written submission being received by Council.
As required by the RMA, Otorohanga District Council’s consultant planners will now work to finalise a report on the Notice of Requirement, including recommendations on various technical issues, a summary of matters raised in submissions and a proposed set of conditions. At this stage it is anticipated that the Minister of Corrections will formally file the application for direct referral with the Environment Court at the end of June 2017. When it does, Council is required to hand over the proceedings to the Environment Court.
From that point the role of Council and its planning staff is to assist the Court in the hearing process. Council will be a party to the proceedings and will participate in the Court hearing process. However matters relating to the administration and conduct of the hearing process will be managed by the Registrar of the Environment Court under the direction of the Judge appointed to hear the case.
All submitters are entitled to participate in the Environment Court process. However, they must give notice that they wish to be heard under section 274 of the RMA. The time to do this will be when the Minister of Corrections makes formal application to the Environment Court for direct referral and sends copies of the same to all submitters. Further information regarding this process will be provided on Council’s website once the planning report described above has been finalised.
Environmental Services Manager
Volume_3_Figures [PDF, 13 MB]
Please note the file sizes of some documents are large and may not be suitable for downloading on rural internet connections.