The High Court has quashed Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson's decision to decline a proposed Akaroa marine reserve.
The Akaroa Marine Protection Society has been fighting for a 530-hectare marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour for more than 20 years and made an application for a reserve near Dan Rogers Bluff in 1995.
Wilkinson declined the society's application in August 2010 on the grounds that it would ''adversely affect recreational fishing''.
The society sought judicial review of the decision in the High Court, and yesterday Justice Whata overturned the minister's decision.
He found Wilkinson made an error of law in excluding the wider benefits of the reserve when determining whether it would affect existing use of the area for recreational purposes.
Wilkinson was ordered to reconsider the application, taking into account the wider benefits of the proposed reserve, which would protect 12 per cent of Akaroa Harbour from fishing.
Society secretary Kathleen Reid said members were delighted with the result.