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PLUS: Wind farm consent put on a direct route

It has been confirmed that a resource consent application for a 20-windmill development south of Eketāhuna will be tackled through Environment Court.

Today marks the public notification of the application submitted by Meridian Energy for the wind farm based at Mt Munro, which, if granted, would generate up to 300 gigawatt hours of energy per year.

This amount of energy would be enough to supply up to 42,000 homes.

The application was submitted to Masterton District Council, Tararua District Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Horizons Regional Council in May.

A spokesperson for Horizons Regional Council said that since the consent was lodged, councils had sought further information from Meridian on “a range of points”, which has since been provided.

The spokesperson also confirmed that Meridian had requested the application follow a direct referral process, and that councils had collectively agreed to accept this last week due to a range of factors.

“Meridian’s reasons for a direct referral included the wind farm being urgently required as part of New Zealand’s efforts to give effect to international obligations related to climate change, that some stakeholders have expressed firm opposition to the location of the wind farm during consultation, and to have a streamlined decision-making process given the public interest in the proposal.”

The spokesperson said the council’s reasons for accepting the request included a likelihood that any hearing decision would eventually be appealed to the Environment Court.

Head of renewable development at Meridian, Rebecca Knott said the direct referral process is a streamlined procedure under the Resource Management Act.

Knott declined to comment on any specifics when asked about the previous contention the application has raised with local Mt Munro residents.

“The content of submissions will be dealt with at the hearing.”

The submission period is 20 working days, which means submissions will close at 4.45pm on December 6.

A copy of the full public notice, submission forms and details on the submission process will be available on the Horizons website from today.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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