A conservation group has failed in its legal bid to stop a 1080 drop in the Hunua Ranges near Auckland.
The Friends of Sherwood Trust won a temporary injunction in the Environment Court halting the major pest control programme two weeks ago.
It argued that the drop breached the Resource Management Act which prohibits the dropping of substances in beds of lakes and rivers.
However today the court refused the Trust's bid to further halt the drop.
"We are not persuaded that there is likely to be serious harm to the environment if the proposed application proceeds."
The judge said the information provided by the Council was comprehensive around the regulation, planning, delivery, and monitoring for the 1080 programme.
"The detail provided is sufficient to show that the discharge of the 1080 pellets is necessary, will not be indiscriminate, and has been carefully planned. It will be governed by the conditions applied to the permission by the Public Health Service to address this particular operation.
"The documents provided by the Council make it very clear there are risks to the use of 1080. We consider the methods proposed to manage those risks are appropriate and adopt the necessary precautions.
The court noted that the Council had followed up with initial landowner communications "with face-to-face meetings where requested, phone calls, project updates by email, the provision of fact sheets specific to adjoining properties, and maps showing the proposed operational area.
"Muzzles and emetics for dogs have been offered to dog owners, with staff made available to deliver and assist in fitting these where requested."
"As well, a precautionary setback of 200 metres has also been applied to all residential dwellings (greater than 150m set out in the Assessing Applications for VTA Guidelines by the Ministry of Health).
Water would be supplied to two properties at their request and water extraction points would be "excluded from the treatment area whether requested by the landowner or not. "
Two of Watercare's reservoirs would be taken offline during the first drop and be returned to service after water testing was completed, before that was repeated with
The council said 108 properties had been spoken to who adjoined the land involved in the operation and 1529 ratable properties within 3 kilometres of the area had all been sent information about it.
"We are satisfied that there has been an extensive consultation programme undertaken by the Council and DOC to engage with those people who have the potential to be adversely affected by the proposed operation.
"We acknowledge that the very nature of 1080 means that there needs to be absolute compliance with the conditions, and this is what the Council have assured us will occur. The Public Health Service and Watercare will be monitoring and overseeing compliance with their requirements."
The Auckland Council has welcomed the decision and said it would be resuming the drop soon, whether permitting.
"We are at a critical point in terms of, this is the optimum time generally around New Zealand to undertake these types of pest management operations; just before main breeding of the bird species that we're seeking to protect and also in terms of plants and trees fruiting," Mace Ward, the general manager of parks, sport and recreation, said.
"So our focus now is on the weather."
He said they couldn't get started straight away as they needed to give the local community 24 hours notice.
"We hope that the parties that made objection to the operation respect the court's decision," he said.
Sue Grey, the lawyer for The Friends of Sherwood Trust said they would be assessing their options.
"Look my clients are extremely disappointed of course because people are very, very concerned about toxic substances being deliberately put in the drinking water catchments and looking at options of where to go from here.
"There's obviously the possibility of appealing this decision and trying to extend the injunction. We've got people looking at that as we speak.
She said she did not think the Council would comply with the conditions.
"The court has assumed all the rules and legal protections will be followed. The community is concerned from past practice that they will not."
The judge kept the injunction in place until 5pm to give parties time to consider the judgement.