Proposed Regional Policy Statement 2021 (“PORPS”) – High Court Declaratory Proceedings

ORC has brought proceedings in the High Court in Dunedin to determine whether the proposed RPS 21 is a freshwater planning instrument in terms of section 80A of the Resource Management Act.

To resolve this question, ORC has brought proceedings in the High Court in Dunedin under the Declaratory Judgments Act 1908. The hearing will be held on 8 and 9 February 2022.

All parties who lodged a submission on the proposed RPS 21 will be notified via email of these proceedings. In addition, a public notice will be made on Monday 27 September 2021 and Monday 4 October 2021 for any other person who may have an interest.

Anyone can join the High Court proceedings about whether or not the proposed RPS 21 is a freshwater planning instrument by filing a statement of defence or notice of appearance. Further information can be found in the related documents below.


Related documents


Plaintiff’s Documents: Otago Regional Council

Hard copies of the above documents can be requested by email


Defendant’s Documents: Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated


Interested Parties’ Documents


Oceana Gold (New Zealand) Limited


Port Otago Limited


Otago Fish & Game Council


Dunedin City Council


Waitaki District Council


Canterbury Regional Council (ECan)


Minister for the Environment


Ngā Rūnanga (Te Rūnanga o Moeraki, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Hokonui Rūnanga, and Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu)


Queenstown Lakes District Council


Central Otago District Council


Rayonier Matariki Forests


Ernslaw One Limited


Joint Memoranda


Court Minutes and Directions


Court Issued Documents


While the High Court proceedings have been filed, ORC staff are continuing with the tasks related to the RPS process as originally planned, due to timing. The High Court hearing is set down for after the statutory deadline for document transfer to the Office of the Freshwater Commissioner.

The requirements in s80A(4)(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991 are that the freshwater instrument is provided to the Office of the Chief Freshwater Commissioner no later than 6 months after notification of the instrument. ORC is therefore required to provide the documents by 26 December 2021. This includes all the submissions and further submissions as well as a large number of other specified documents.

Upon receipt of the instrument and associated documents, the Chief Freshwater Commissioner will appoint the panel to hear and make recommendations on the instrument.

Any variation from this approach as a result of the declaratory proceedings will be dealt with in due course, in line with any directions or decisions from the court.

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