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by Alexia Johnston

Plan Change 13 is all but complete – 10 years after it was first compiled.

The plan, which was designed to establish a balance between development and environmental protection within the Mackenzie Basin, has been the subject of numerous appeals.

Federated Farmers was among those to lodge an appeal, in the hope of having various matters clarified without going as far as the High Court.

Its appeal was based on the need to gain a better understanding of what some of the findings meant.

Some of those issues related to regulation of oversowing and topdressing.

Farmers needed to know if they would have to go through a resource consent process every year to apply for what they had traditionally done.

Federated Farmers later withdrew its appeal so it could spend less time in court and more time on discussions.

The 12th decision, which related to scenic grassland boundaries, pastoral intensification, subdivisional fencing and ecology aspects of the landscape, was before the Environment Court for clarification.

Mackenzie District Council planning and regulations manager Suzette van Aswegen said progress was being made.

“As a council, we are pleased with the release of the 12th decision as this brings Plan Change 13 just about to a close and gives certainty in the application of planning rules in the Mackenzie Basin.”

There are still two matters before the court, which relate to farm base areas and the hydro-electricity inundation hazard package.

Those matters were expected to be finalised by the Environment Court by the end of the year.

Plan Change 13 relates to an amendment to the Mackenzie District Council’s district plan, which was first notified in 2007.

It was initiated by the council to address subdivision and land-use issues within the Mackenzie Basin.

the matter was appealed to the Environment Court and has subsequently been the subject of numerous actions within the Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal.