Meridian Chief Executive Tim Lusk says the project is proposed for stewardship land administered by the Department and requires the consent of the Minister of Conservation to go ahead, as well as the usual resource consents.

“Meridian is committed to the Mokihinui Hydro Project. Both parties agree that issues relating to land access need to be addressed before we can take this process further through the court process,” said Lusk.“Taking the time to carefully work through these issues before advancing to the Environment Court is the most logical and cost effective way of simplifying a complicated process for all concerned.”

He added: “In applying for the Minister’s consent, we may have the opportunity to address some matters that have been raised by DOC in its appeal to the Environment Court. It would be more efficient and appropriate to see if we can deal with those issues as part of that dialogue.”.

If the Court agrees, Meridian and the Department of Conservation will file a progress report with the Court in six months.

Depending on progress with discussions, Meridian may make new applications to DOC for the project.