Environment Waikato is to discuss with the government what role councils will play, now that Transpower’s Waikato transmission line project has been called-in by Minister Pete Hodgson, acting for the Minister for the Environment.
The call-in announced today means a decision on the project will now be made by a Board of Inquiry appointed by central government. This board replaces normal council hearings process and the Environment Court appeals process.
Generally speaking, Environment Waikato does not support the calling-in of projects because that can make it much harder for local people to have a say at hearings, said chief executive Harry Wilson.
But it has agreed to the call-in of the Transpower project because of its national significance, Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson said discussions were ongoing with government over the exact role of Environment Waikato and local councils following the call-in. “I want this call-in to be a model for how central and local government processes can dovetail together when it comes to considering major projects of this kind.”