Environment Canterbury has written to the government asking if it will call in the applications for consent for intensive dairy farming in the Mackenzie basin because of the potential national impact.
The Government will need to act quickly if it is to follow ECan’s advice, with a decision on two call-ins needed by January 15 and a ruling on the third needed a week later.
Call-ins enable the Government to make a decision, bypassing the lengthy Environment Court process.
The applications have engendered a lot of interest – and more than 3,000 submissions, on the applications.
Many of them may be based on emotion rather than fact and many are based on animal welfare which does not come under the Resource Management Act.
But the content and quality of submissions is beside the point.
People have made submissions and while the consent process may be slow, it will give them an opportunity to have their say.
It is then up to the hearing panel to consider all views and make a judgement consistent with the RMA.
This application may have national implications. Is that a good reason for the government to call it in or is it just an excuse for ECan to pass on the work and let someone else deal with what will be a controversial decision?