Original language


New Zealand
Date of text
Type of court
National - higher court
Court name
Environmental Court of New Zealand
Seat of court
Reference number
[2015] NZSC 107
Land Use, Evidence, Air pollution, Remedies, Forests, Property, Standing, Civil, Damages, Permits
Sheppard, J.;Catchpole P.A.;Kerr, I.G.C.

In this case, the city of Auckland proposed a new regional policy statement for the purpose of containing urban development. This new design of the metropolitan boarders is motivated by the necessity of protecting some important ecosystems such as the Okura Estuary and the Long Bay coast from the negative effect of urbanisation.

The plaintiffs, the North Shore City and the owner of a land falling out of the new metropolitan urban limit appealed the decision in front of the Environmental Court.
The City of Auckland claimed that its decision was motivated by the provision of the section 5 of 1991 the Resource Management Act (RMA) which states that regional plans have to promote sustainable management. But the Court held that the section 5 of the RMA needs to be interpreted through an overall broad judgment of the environmental consequences of a regional planning decision. Following this approach the Court considered that the urbanization of the Okura catchment would have an important impact on the environment but that the urbanization of the Long Bay would not have any significant impact on the ecosystesm and its maritime resources. Thus, it allow the appeal "to the extent that the regional council is directed to alter the line of metropolitan urban limits in the proposed regional policy statement so that instead of following Glenvar Road, the line follows the watershed or catchment boundary between the Long Bay and Okura catchments."