26 Sep 2013

Everyone a winner in disputed regional plan appeals

5:46 am on 26 September 2013

Farmers and growers organisations which have spent millions of dollars on unsuccessful legal battles challenging the Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council's One Plan, claim they've won and the fight was worth it.

The High Court has dismissed the latest legal challenges from Federated Farmers and Horticulture New Zealand against the Environment Court approval of the plan, after it had considered earlier appeals.

The One Plan seeks to regulate and limit the amount of nitrogen leeching that occurs to protect the region's waterways and biodiversity.

Horticulture New Zealand says while the High Court ruled against all the legal points it had raised, it also introduced a practical, rational framework that growers could work with.

It says while it lost the legal battle, its growers in the region are better off.

Federated Farmers has praised the High Court judge who shot down nearly all of its claims, saying their interpretation is that there can be exceptions to fixed nitrogen loss limits.

It says while the total legal costs for all involved in the spat run into the tens of millions of dollars, the investment by its farmers was worthwhile.

The Green Party, Fish and Game and the council say they are all pleased too.