Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Appeal against 1080 operation dismissed

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A legal bid that has held up a possum control programme that’s part of Ospri’s response to the bovine TB outbreak in Hawke’s Bay has failed. Late last year the Māori Land Court dismissed an application for an injunction against a planned possum control operation on the Tataraakina C block, which is west of the Mohaka River near the Waitara Valley, off the Napier-Taupō road.
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A legal bid that has held up a possum control programme that’s part of Ospri’s response to the bovine TB outbreak in Hawke’s Bay has failed.

Late last year the Māori Land Court dismissed an application for an injunction against a planned possum control operation on the Tataraakina C block, which is west of the Mohaka River near the Waitara Valley, off the Napier-Taupō road.

Ospri had earlier been given permission to carry out pest control on the land by the Tataraakina Trust C’s responsible trustee Clinton Hemana.

However, trust member Nigel Baker, who filed the original injunction and who is against the use of 1080, appealed the decision that would have allowed Ospri contractors to carry out aerial 1080 drops.

The recent judgment by the Māori Appellate Court, which heard the appeal on August 12, says Baker argued that the Chief Judge Wilson Isaac, who heard the original application for an injunction, undermined the views of some of the trust’s listed owners, who voted against authorising the 1080 programme at a special meeting, by not taking their views into account.

“He submits this sets a dangerous precedent as other judges may rely on absent owners to support their decisions,” the judgment said.

“Mr Baker is wrong in both fact and law.

“Judge Isaac dismissed the application on the basis that there was no trespass or unlawful injury to the land. He then went on to consider the remaining arguments, including the level of owner support and opposition.

“However, that is not the basis upon which he decided the matter.”

The judgment says Judge Isaac considered the views of the land’s owners in relation to the 1080 programme.

“He found that there was little difference between the level of support and opposition. He also took into account that a small number of owners had engaged in relation to the total number of owners in the block,” it said.

“Those comments are factually correct. He was entitled to take those factors into account, but he was not bound to follow the views of the owners as expressed by a majority vote.”

In dismissing the appeal, the panel of three judges said Baker did not demonstrate Judge Isaac erred in law or in principle, took into account an irrelevant matter, failed to take into account a relevant matter, or was plainly wrong.

Ospri has been approached for information on when the planned possum control operation is likely to begin.

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