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Kahawai Legal Challenge Delayed but not Derailed

New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council

26 May 2006

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(This notice was sent to members of the NZBGFC on 26th May 2006 by their President, Jeff Romeril)

Dear Members

This is to advise that the judicial review on kahawai has been delayed due to the Crown not presenting its evidence (affidavits) in a timely manner for us to respond to before the hearing date June 6th. A new date will be advised, it will be after the 1st August. It could be several months as the court does not have an immediate opening for a four day hearing unless another case of similar length is also delayed allowing us to take that slot.   
Over the last month the possibility of an adjournment of our judicial review on kahawai had arisen as the time table of events decided in December was not adhered to by Commercial and the Crown. We filed our evidence 8 months ago, Commercial were two months late and we have yet to receive any evidence from the Crown which was initially due in March.

The time table was compressed to allow Crown an extension to get their evidence to us by 19th May. A time we believed we could still respond to for the 6th June hearing. However we still have not received it. On the 24th May we notified the court that we had not received the Crowns evidence and accordingly asked for an adjournment. By coincidence one of our presenting legal team lawyers has used the opportunity of the delay to take leave to attend to a serious family illness.        
We have done our very best to comply with the timetable schedule and accommodate the lateness of both Commercial and Crown. It is disappointing that we have sought an adjournment but had little choice.

It is not clear how the judge presiding will view the delay and the reason for it as they too have plenty of preparation (reading) to do prior to the hearing but we have made sure that any fault cannot be laid on us. We have specified a further deadline for the Crown to present its evidence of the 6th June — the original hearing date and allowed ourselves three weeks to respond so we are ready for any opportunity for a court hearing from the 1st August onwards. I will advise as soon as a fixed date is known.
I appreciate the frustration that all must feel over this delay as this case is now 2 years old in the making. We must persevere as the importance of this case and its affect on all fisheries management decisions has not changed.  

We have been advised that the Minister is not making any further decisions on kahawai this coming October so this will not further affect the legal case.

Our fund raising is still on going and we very much appreciate the effort clubs have individually shown to assist in the costs of taking the case. We are as convinced as ever we are on the right track and will not be derailed by this delay.
Kind regards  
Jeff Romeril


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