566 applications made under Marine and Coastal Area (Tukutai Moana) Act

Franks Ogilvie are acting for a client who is directly affected by some of the hundreds of applications made under the Marine and Coastal Area (Tukutai Moana) Act (MACA Act). The client depends on a relatively small geographical stretch of the marine and coastal area, but has been forced to file numerous appearances to protect its interests against a multitude of applications over that area.

186 applications have been made by iwi, hapu and whanau groups to the High Court and about 380 directly to the Crown. These are applications for “protected customary rights” orders (such as for collecting stones or other natural resources in an area) or “customary marine title” orders (which can include rights to say yes or no to resource consent applications, and rights to restrict access in an area protected by wahi tapu.) While applicants have access to public funding, interested parties, like our client, do not.

Even though the applications may take years to be go through the system, those applying for resource consents or permits are required under section 62(3) to notify every applicant and seek their views if the proposed activity may affect the orders the MACA applicant is seeking. This statutory condition will apply until every related application has been determined, regardless of merit.

As there are so many overlapping MACA applications with no central repository it will be difficult for the average person to know where to start. How do you find out which MACA applications are relevant? Do you need to examine each one to determine what the application is about? Who do you contact? What if they don’t give their views within a reasonable time? How much do you pay? What will the Council do if you fail to seek the views and the MACA applicant objects? All these issues are yet to play out but are likely to be a huge burden to anyone needing a resource consent or permit or approval (new or renewing) anywhere in the marine and coastal areas subject to the applications. Click here and here for media articles on this.