The strength of opposition to Waste Management’s plan to build a massive landfill in the Dome Valley is gathering momentum, with nine appeals against the project lodged in the Environment Court by last week’s deadline.
A government department, New Zealand’s largest conservation group and several influential Maori groups are among those objecting.
The appeals were triggered when hearing commissioners voted four to one to grant a resource consent for the regional landfill, which will replace the Redvale tip in 2028. Their decision was announced on June 14.
Appeals have been lodged with the Environment Court by the Director-General of Conservation (DOC); Forest and Bird; Fight the Tip: Tiaki Te Whenua Inc; Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua; Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust; Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei; Nga Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust; Ngati Rango; and Refining NZ.
DOC operations manager Rebecca Rush says the department’s appeal is being made to ensure the protection of native and threatened species and their habitat, such as the threatened long-tailed bat, Hochstetter’s frogs and native birds such as the fernbird and Australasian bittern.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua says it has “solid grounds” under the Resource Management Act to oppose the consent “to protect our whenua becoming another toxic dump site”. Chief executive Alan Riwaka says the landfill would challenge the relationship that mana whenua have with their lands, water, sacred sites and other taonga (treasures), and their kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role in respect of protecting water and land.
“The landfill’s presence will clearly and irrevocably diminish that relationship and will seriously limit the ability to exercise kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga consistent with our tikanga, culture and traditions,” he says.
Fight the Tip’s appeal was filed by Andrew Braggins, a partner at specialist environmental law firm Berry Simons. The group says it is committed to continuing its opposition to the dump.
“It is our strong view that the granting of resource consent is unacceptable for a range of environmental, cultural and social reasons,” the group says.
Ngati Manuhiri Settlement Trust chairman Terrence “Mook” Hohneck says the whole iwi is behind the appeal.
“This was unanimously supported by our tribe and by our wider and extended iwi and whanau, near and far,” he says.
“We’re very confident that we’re going to appeal this decision that Council has made and approved, and we’ll leave no stone unturned.”
Meanwhile, Refining NZ, which runs the 170km long fuel pipe from Marsden Point refinery to Auckland, says its appeal is minor, seeking only to correct the language used in consent conditions around protection of its pipeline.
The pipe, which supplies airline fuel to Auckland Airport, runs under part of the 1020 hectare site bought by Waste Management.
“It’s just to make sure what was previously agreed with Waste Management,” a Refining NZ spokeswoman says. “They have accepted that they submitted the wrong version of the wording.”