Greenpeace New Zealand Inc. v. Genesis Power Ltd.
Jurisdiction: Supreme Court
Side A: Genesis Power Ltd. (Corporation)
Side B: Greenpeace New Zealand Inc. (Ngo)
Sought declaration that exception in law regarding consent applied only when application related to renewable energy
A power company proposed to build a power station fueled by natural gas. This required a number of resource consents, including a discharge permit. At question in this case was the proper interpretation of Section 104E of the Resource Management Act 1991. Section 104E prohibits consent authorities from considering the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change in discharge and coastal permit applications, “except to the extent that the use and development of renewable energy enables a reduction in the discharge into air of greenhouse gases.” A majority of the Supreme Court upheld the interpretation of the Appeals Court that this exception means that greenhouse gas emission reductions should only be considered in applications involving renewable energy.
The decision rejects the interpretation of Section 104E made by a lower court in Greenpeace New Zealand v. Northland Regional Council which took the approach that a reduction in greenhouse gases through use of renewable energy could be considered in all applications for a discharge permit whether or not they proposed the use of renewable energy. In her dissent to Greenpeace New Zealand Inc. v. Genesis Power Ltd., Justice Elias supported the interpretation from Greenpeace New Zealand v. Northland Regional Council.