2 Oct 2010

New application for dairying in Mackenzie Country

10:25 pm on 2 October 2010

A company behind plans to build covered intensive dairy farming units in the Mackenzie Country says while it has relodged land-use applications, it wants them put on hold.

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) won a High Court challenge against the farming operation.

EDS claims the new applications have been made despite those who support the project agreeing to defer their plans for a few years.

Richard Peacocke from Southern Holdings says the relodging of applications to the Waitaki District Council is to safeguard the project in the future.

He's concerned about what he says are plans by environmental groups asking the Government to create a dry land park in the Mackenzie Basin.

"We do not wish to see such a plan change affect our applications which have been sitting in process for eight years now."

He says such a park would stymie Southern Holdings' plans for the dairy operation. The relodging would preempt those changes.

Mr Peacocke says the companies have already spent $5 million on application fees and want the land use application to show that dairying is a permitted activity.

Society may go back to court

EDS says it had an agreement that it would be notified if the applications were re-activated, but this has not occurred.

Waitaki district Mayor Alex Familton says the council is yet to consider the application, or whether it should be notified.

He says the proposal will be considered on its merits before a decision is made on whether it should be publicly notified.

EDS chairman Gary Taylor says compliance certificates have been granted for farming work, including building dairy sheds and their ongoing expansion.

He says the society is considering filing new proceedings in the High Court.