BALANCING ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PRIORITIES FOR AN ABANDONED CONTAINER SHIP 

4Sight advised the Crown in its response to the MV Rena resource consent application. The container ship MV Rena grounded, broke up, and sank on Astrolabe Reef in 2012. 

The project

When the MV Rena's owners applied for consent to abandon the wreck on the reef and to discharge contaminants from the sunken cargo on an ongoing basis, the Crown engaged 4Sight to review the application documents and advise them on statutory process and environmental issues. We then prepared an “all of government” submission, and worked with a group of technical experts and Crown Law to provide expert planning evidence for the hearing which took place in late 2015. As part of our hearing work we took part in the conferencing of expert planning witnesses both before and during the hearing. 

 

The outcome

Our role was to help the Crown achieve a balanced outcome of environmental, cultural, risk and economic factors related to management of the wreck. The decision of the commissioners was that the wreck was allowed to stay, subject to a suite of conditions.

 

The approach

4Sight's initial report to the Crown required a substantial amount of documentation to be reviewed in a very short period of time. As a result, the work was shared between two of our principal planners.

We worked closely with Conservation staff to prepare the government submissions. We also worked alongside a wide range of technical experts to prepare the hearing evidence and to represent the Crown’s position during witness conferencing.

As part of our work for the client, we were required to:

  • Critically review the applicant's statutory planning assessment;
  • Review the relationship between aspects of the Resource Management Act and the Maritime Transport Act;
  • Understand the Crown's approach to previous submission processes;
  • Have a realistic expectation of the physically achievable outcomes for the wreck;
  • Understand the risk and significance associated with the contaminants;
  • Understand the cultural environment of the Reef, as a significant taonga for local iwi;
  • Act as an expert planning witness in presenting evidence and in contributing to witness conferencing.

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