The RMA is supposed to protect the environment but it’s used to stifle competition:
Supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises is appealing an Environment Court decision to allow rival Foodstuffs to open a supermarket on Auckland’s North Shore.
I know nothing about the merits of Foodstuffs’ case but it appears the opposition has nothing to do with the environment and we had a similar problem, on a much smaller scale, with a consent application.
We wanted to take water from the Kakanui River. Our application was for a B water right which meant we could only pump water from the river when it was at high flows and we’d have to stop before any other irrigators so would have no impact on their takes.
We tried to go non-notified and got sign-off from DOC, Fish & Game and the local Iwi. This is obviously quite rare because one of the Regional Council staff suggested we frame the letters. However, existing irrigators opposed the application so we had to notify it and then the Kakanui Ratepayers and Residents Association opposed us too.
We went to a hearing, were granted consent, but the KRRA appealed it.
Two years, and at least $20,000 later in direct costs plus more in lost income when we had to dry cows off early because we ran out of water for irrigation, their lawyer finally told them they didn’t have a case and they gave up.