Opponents fighting Waste Management’s plans to develop a major regional landfill in the Dome Valley were awarded $24,500 towards legal fees by the Ministry of the Environment last month.
Fight the Tip: Tiaki te Whenua had originally applied for the maximum possible grant of $50,000, but the Environmental Legal Assistance Fund advisory panel said a significant number of applications for grants had meant that the funding round had to be rationed.
“Had this rationing not taken place, the group would have been awarded up to $35,000,” the panel said, adding that the group may be able to apply for further funding in future.
The $24,500 grant comes in addition to more than $67,000 so far donated by Fight the Tip supporters, including $50,000 from an anonymous donor last August. Legal costs to fight the resource consent case in the Environment Court in June are estimated at more than $200,000.
Fight the Tip executive Michelle Carmichael said she was pleased with the Ministry’s decision.
“I think we did well to get that and yes, we will definitely be applying for further funds later,” she said. “This highlights the importance of groups such as ours to take part in resource consent and environmental advocacy areas.
“This government-endorsed funding is further proof that we are not an activist nimby protest group, we are a collective of concerned citizens who care enough about the long term environmental effects that this and potentially other landfills in New Zealand pose, to try to make a difference.”
Ms Carmichael said she was particularly pleased that the advisory panel’s report said the group’s case had potential to create useful case law and that it raised nationally and regionally important issues affecting the environment.