Any decision to leave the wreck of the cargo ship Rena on the Astrolabe Reef would require a full resource consent process, Bay of Plenty Regional Council says.
Recent announcements about the ultimate fate of the Rena wreck have raised questions about the process that would be followed if the owners applied for a consent to leave the wreck and any debris on the reef.
Regional Council Chief Executive Mary-Anne Macleod said a "full and robust" statutory process would be followed if a consent application was lodged for any part of the Rena to remain on Otaiti Reef.
"Recently representatives of the owners (Daina Shipping Company) have sought clarification from the Regional Council about the process that would be followed, and the sort of information that would be required if a consent application is lodged with Council. We have given them the advice we routinely do for any potential applicant," she said.
At this time Bay of Plenty Regional Council has not received a consent application.
"Under the provisions of our Coastal Plan, a consent is required for any wreck to occupy the seabed. The Regional Council would be duty-bound to receive and process any completed and adequately supported application that is lodged. However, we have not received an application, and we do not know exactly what is proposed.
"We would like to assure the public that any consent application relating to the Rena will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the Resource Management Act," Ms Macleod said.
"We would like to emphasise that the Regional Council is not a party to the recently announced Government agreements about financial compensation. As a consent authority, we must act impartially and independently in processing any consent application."
She said if a consent application was received on behalf of the Rena owner it will be publicly notified to give the public every opportunity to express any concerns through the statutory process under the Resource Management Act.
"In processing any consent application, the Regional Council will engage the best scientific and other advice to ensure an informed decision can be made," she said.