Legal heavyweight joins fight against Lincoln subdivision

Residents fighting the proposed subdivision of Lincoln South are bolstering their ranks with a legal heavyweight – the Environmental Defense Society.

The national non-profit will be a party in a lawsuit before the Environmental Court and will support the Lincoln Voice residents’ group in their appeal against Selwyn District Council’s decision to pass Plan Change 69.

Lincoln Voice was formed that year after the district council accepted the PC69 Carter Group’s motion for rezoning, paving the way for the 1710 Section Lincoln South Subdivision on rural land.

Lincoln Voice spokeswoman Denise Carrick said residents group members felt it was a “massive” coup that the society agreed to support her argument in court.

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“They’re going to be able to take it a lot further for us, which is amazing, we’re just a tiny community group,” Carrick said.

Lincoln Voice continues to raise funds through Givealittle as it still has to pay for its own attorneys and experts. The campaign has a goal of $150,000 and had reached almost $15,000 this week.

Carrick understood that the Environmental Defense Society only took on cases of national importance.

The proposed Lincoln South development reflected cities across the country being able to expand into rural areas because of the new National Policy Statement – Urban Development. It also reflected that agricultural lands were not protected across the country due to a government delay in introducing the additional new legislation of the National Policy Statement – Highly Productive Land.

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“There is a discrepancy (between the two laws). I don’t think anyone has ever really questioned it. It’s going to be groundbreaking,” Carrick said.

The Environmental Defense Society is a litigation advocacy group formed to fight for the environment, with expertise in law, planning, landscape and science.

The society has been advocating for New Zealand’s environment and finite resources for more than 50 years through policy work and strategic litigation.

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His biggest victory was winning a 2014 Supreme Court battle against New Zealand’s King Salmon Company, considered a landmark case in confirming the environmental management parameters of coastal landscapes.

The Society confirmed that it would be a party in the Environmental Court’s case, Lincoln Voice v. Selwyn District Council.

The case is expected to go to mediation and then to a hearing if mediation fails.

A verdict is some time away as a court conference scheduled for August has been postponed indefinitely in the future.

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