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The Environment Court has ruled in favour of farmers on the Banks Peninsula who have been fighting for the right to farm their land for over a decade.
Federated Farmers Banks Peninsula Branch Chair Pam Richardson says she is relieved but at the same time frustrated.
“Although we have won and it is a relief, this fight has consumed us for 11 years. We are tired, it has sapped our energy. We have spent thousands of hours and dollars to get to this end.
Mrs Richardson believes the court’s decision recognises the good faith and effort put into mediation proceedings by farmers.
Federated Farmers had worked hard to come up with rules and landscape designations that were fair through a task force formed by the Banks Peninsula District Council (now merged with Christchurch City Council) and through mediations ordered by the Environment Court on the Banks Peninsula District Plan.
Farmers negotiated in good faith with Environment Canterbury and other parties and made concessions to obtain a result that everyone could live with. Although the extent of landscape designations was not fully resolved it was anticipated that the views of the major parties would not change greatly from the agreements made.
“We were incredibly disappointed to find that Environment Canterbury sought greater restrictions than had been indicated in mediation and that the matter would have to proceed to court.
Federated Farmers supported Christchurch City Council’s stand against Environment Canterbury in court.
Federated Farmers felt the matter should not have had to go to court at all and the case was a waste of farmer’s time as well as ratepayer’s money.
“This decision is the culmination of over a decade of negotiation and mediation, we are glad to put it to bed. We just hope that in the future local and regional government will work in partnership with us to benefit both the community and the environment.” Mrs Richardson said.