Four appeals to the Environment Court arose from a joint decision of the Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato District Council granting resource consents for the expansion of a diary factory. The resource consent that was granted by the primary consent authorities imposed numerous conditions.
In their appeals the appellants sought the cancellation of the decisions of the council and the denial of the consents granted.
In reply to the appeals, the Regional Council maintained that the conditions imposed were appropriate to ensure that the potential adverse effects on the Waikato River were avoided, remedied or mitigated.
The court considered the proposal, the contribution to community well-being of the dairy industry and to the country’s economy, and in particular the contribution by Anchor Products which it was asserted would be enhanced by the proposed expansion at Te Rapa. These aspects were considered in relation with the effects of the proposed project on the environment as well as on the cultural associations of local tribes with the Waikato River.
The court found that the proposed expansion of the dairy factory would represent managing the use, development and protection of the natural and physical resources involved in a way and at a rate which would enable the Waikato Dairy Community to provide for their economic well-being while achieving the goals of sustainability.
The court determined that the resource consents granted by the District Council and the Regional Council be confirmed, subject to amendments consequential on the reduction in the capacity of the proposed cogeneration plant to 45 megawatts. Save in those respects the appeal was disallowed.