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Published: 2001-06-08 00:00:00

A group of upper catchment farmers have appealed a High Court ruling that a rate imposed by Environment Waikato to fund the Piako River Scheme was legal.

The group has gone to the Court of Appeal after the High Court ruled last month that the Council acted legally in rating upper catchment properties for the Piako River Protection Scheme. The Court awarded costs to the Council.

In making his ruling, Mr Justice Morris said he could not see how the Council could come to any other conclusion but to rate the properties.

Council chairman Neil Clarke said today the Council recognised that the people in the upper catchment had the right to take legal opportunities for appeal.

“The Council has not fully considered the High Court’s decision to apply for costs. Because the group has now decided to take the matter to appeal, this will incur significant costs for the Council and therefore ratepayers.

“The Council now has an obligation to look seriously at recovering costs in the best interests of the ratepayers. I am disappointed that more costs will be incurred in this additional process and the Council is satisfied that, in reaching its decision it carefully followed the rules set out in legislation. The High Court confirmed the process was legally sound.”

The case is likely to take at least six months to be heard by the Court of Appeal.