The Prime Minister says there are no plans to close the Environment Court.

Mr Key has rebutted speculation the court will be canned saying yesterday he believed it would remain a stand alone court.

"There's been talk about desire to get rid of the Environment Court. There isn't. What there is is some concern about the speed of matters flowing through the courts in general so there's been a modernisation process taking place and quite a number of changes and that includes the Environment Court."

Labour and the Greens have expressed concerns about the court's future after a Government decision to withhold official papers about its plans.


Justice Minister Judith Collins says there are no plans to abolish the Environment Court and any speculation to the contrary is wrong.

The Resource Management Law Association says that is comforting.

Earlier, it said the Government had stalled answering an Official Information Act request, asking if there are plans to dis-establish the court.

But spokesperson Martin Williams said the group remains concerned at changes to legislation, which is eroding the key functions of the court.

Earlier, Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor told a Radio New Zealand reporter that talk of such a decision was gathering more credence.