- This document describes how the Board of Inquiry (the Board) intends to conduct the hearing on Contact Energy’s Te Mihi Geothermal Power Station Proposal.
- A summary of relevant statutory provisions relating to the hearing is in Appendix 1.
Objectives and principles
- The objectives of the hearing are:
- To provide an effective and efficient opportunity for the Board to receive and test the reliability of information relevant to the proposal.
- To provide a fair and orderly opportunity for the applicant and all who made submissions on the proposal and stated that they wished to be heard to put their points of view before the Board and provide relevant information for its consideration.
- To achieve these objectives, the following principles should guide the procedures adopted:
- The procedures should be sufficiently formal to be fair to all parties and to allow the orderly presentation and testing of information, but not so as to inhibit lay people from taking part effectively.
- The procedures should be robust, and should inspire the confidence of the applicant, submitters and the public.
- The inquiry should not have the character of an adversarial contest between parties.
- The procedures should be cost-effective in the demands on the time and costs of all taking part.
Location and venu
- The Board will select a venue for the hearing having regard to these factors:
- Being located in or near to part of the proposal.
- Being big enough to accommodate the numbers expected to attend.
- Having suitable facilities.
- Being accessible for the Board, for submitters, and for witnesses.
- Being reasonably accessible by transport in and out of the venue location.
Managing who appears, order of appearances, and scheduling
- The hearing is expected to commence on the 21 July 2008 in Taupo. The hearing will begin with opening submissions from the Applicant, Contact Energy.
- The Board will then retire for the remainder of that week to read all pre-circulated evidence.
- The hearing will then continue on the 28 July 2008 with all previously provided evidence being taken as read.
- Every person who made a submission provided to the Board by the Minister responsible for the call-in (the Minister), and who stated that they wanted to be heard, will be advised of the time and place of the hearing, and of the procedures to be adopted; and will be asked to confirm their wish to be heard and identify any witnesses they wish to call.
- From those responses, the Board will prepare an order of appearances and a provisional programme of the time periods in which submitters are likely to be heard. This will be provided in advance to the submitters who wish to be heard, and will be published on the Board webpage. Because of uncertainty about the length of presentations and questioning, it may not be practicable to allot in advance a specific time for the presentation by each submitter. The Chairperson will, at the outset, and at appropriate stages throughout the hearing, direct the order and timing of presentations.
- When used in this document, these words are intended to have the meanings given:
Submission – a submission on the proposal provided to the Board by the Minister.
Submitter – a person who made a submission.
Evidence – statements made at the hearing by a witness that tend to prove facts in issue, or facts from which facts in issue may be inferred, including opinions by expert witnesses.
Witness – a person who gives evidence to the Board.
Representations – statements made to the Board at the hearing by or on behalf of a submitter stating what decision he or she wants the Board to make, and why.
- The following information will be available for inspection on the Board’s webpage:
- Contact Energy Ltd’s resource consent applications.
- All submissions on the proposal.
- Summary of Submissions report.
- Reports the Board has commissioned.
- All evidence (applicant and submitters) lodged with the Board.
- Submitters are not obliged to attend the hearing. Their submissions will still be read and considered by the Board. They can provide more detail of their submission (but not new topics) in writing before the start of the hearing.
- Every submitter who wants to speak to their submission (make representation) without calling evidence may do so without having to pre-circulate the submission again.
- Any submitter who wishes to give or call evidence is to lodge statements of evidence with the Board by 23 June 2008. Five copies of full statements of evidence are to be provided to the Board, each statement being signed by the witness who is to give that evidence. An electronic copy of each statement should also be provided.
- The statements of evidence will be made publicly available on the Boards webpage within 3 days of being received by the Board and will be available for anyone to read at the hearing.
- Every witness will need to attend in person before the Board, and may make an oath or affirmation that the contents of the evidence is true and correct, but will not be obliged to read the statement of evidence to the Board.
- A submitter who is being heard may highlight the main points of the submission, and of their evidence (if provided), and may respond to submissions made by others. More extensive written representations may be handed in (note: this refers to representations only – evidence must all be pre-circulated).
- Submitters may make their own representations themselves, or they may choose to be represented by a lawyer or other agent.
- A submitter who considers that some of the content of the submitter’s representations or evidence should not be made public for any reason stated in section 42(1) of the Resource Management Act may, not less than 10 working days prior to the start of the hearing, apply to the Board for an order under section 42. Any application for an order under that section should be made in writing, should identify the particular representations or evidence to which the application relates, and should explain why it should not be made public.
- The Board’s pages on the Ministry for the Environment’s webpage (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/call-in-temihi/board-of-inquiry/index.html) will be used to make information available to submitters and the public. Any submitter who cannot access the webpage is invited to ask the Board’s Executive Officer for a convenient place where documents can be inspected, and copies made.
- Normal audio-visual aids will be available to submitters and witnesses at the hearing.
- Joint presentations (where one person makes a presentation on behalf of several submitters) – are allowed, and are encouraged where the submissions are of a similar nature. Submitters may also combine to appoint one person to cross-examine witnesses for them all.
Probing of information
- Cross-examination of witnesses will be allowed, subject to direction by the Chairperson to ensure that time for cross-examination is used efficiently.
- Any party who wishes to cross-examine a witness to be called by another party is to notify the Board and the other party by 11 July 2008 naming the witnesses who are to be cross-examined.
Leave to waive procedural requirement
- If any party wishes to depart from any time limit or other requirement, they should make a written request to the Board to waive compliance with that requirement. A request to waive compliance should contain a full explanation of why the party did not, or will not, comply.
Te Reo and Tikanga Māori
- Any person who has made a submission stating that he or she wishes to be heard may if they choose make the representations at the hearing, and any witness may give evidence at the hearing, in Te Reo Maori. At least 5 working days prior notice of intention to use Te Reo Maori is to be given to the Board, so that attendance of an interpreter can be arranged. However, any karakia, pōwhiri, or mihi will not be translated into the English language unless the presenter wishes and has given such prior notice.
Role of Ministry for the Environment Staff
- The Project Manager will make the necessary arrangements for the hearing on behalf of the Board, and will attend the hearing to assist the Board in the administration and conduct of the hearing.
- The Ministry will contract a Hearing Manager to mange the logistics and administration of the Hearing.
- The Board may seek technical or other advice, and may require reports or information to be provided to it. The Project Manager will arrange for preparation of those reports. They may be prepared by the Ministry, or by consultants engaged by the Ministry, or obtained from other persons or agencies. Any report or advice considered by the Board will be published on the Board’s webpage.
- The hearing will be in public (except to the extent that any order under section 42 applies), and representatives of the media are free to attend and report the proceedings However, cameras, video-recorders and audio recorders may only be used in the hearing with the Board’s prior consent.
- Media kits (with information on the process, lists of submitters) will be available to the media. Interviews are not allowed in the hearing room. Board members will not be available for media interviews. Ministry for the Environment staff will be available to provide process information to the media.
- The Board will have the proceedings at the hearing recorded, and the recording transcribed. This is primarily for the Board’s own deliberations, but the transcript will also be available to submitters and the public on the Board’s webpage. The record of the proceedings will also include:
- A summary record of proceedings including a list of the submitters who are heard, and witnesses they call, and a list of all documents submitted to the hearing.
- A reference set of all documents presented to the hearing.
- As soon as practicable after the Board has completed the inquiry, it will:
- make a draft decision and produce a draft written report (in accordance with sections 148(1) and (2) of the RMA).
- send a copy of the draft report to all parties (section 148(3) of the RMA)
- invite the parties identified in section 148(3) to send comment to the Board within 20 working days (section 148(4) of the RMA).
- As soon as practicable after the 20 working days referred to in section 148(4), the Board will consider any comments received, make its decision, and produce a final report (sections 149(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the RMA).
Last updated: 24 July 2008