Consequential effects and ‘end use’ under the RMA – Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa v Bay of Plenty Regional Council  NZHC 3388
Authors: Ezekiel Hudspith, Special Counsel, and Liam Bullen, Solicitor, Dentons Kensington Swan
In Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa v Bay of Plenty Regional Council  NZHC 3388, the High Court upheld the decision of a majority of the Environment Court to dismiss appeals against the grant of consents authorising a large–scale water bottling plant at Otakiri, in the Bay of Plenty. (That Environment Court decision was summarised in the April 2020 issue of RMJ).
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (Te Rūnanga) and Sustainable Otakiri Incorporated (Sustainable Otakiri) had appealed decisions of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Whakatāne District Council to grant a new water take permit and a variation to an existing land use consent (respectively) to Creswell NZ Limited (Creswell). These resource consents would enable the large-scale expansion of an existing water take and bottling operation.
One of the key legal issues for both Courts was the extent to which the decision maker was permitted or required to consider the environmental effects associated with exporting the water, and in plastic bottles, once it was taken. These aspects of the overall proposal did not themselves require resource consent but were seen as consequential or ‘end use’ effects of the applications being made.