Hurunui reinforces opposition to Conservation Order

The Hurunui District Council has reinforced its opposition to a water conservation order on the Hurunui River.

The Council this week filed a new submission to be heard by independent hearing commissioners now the matter has been moved away from the jurisdiction of the Environment Court following the passage of the Environment Canterbury Act.

Environmental Services Manager, Andrew Feierabend says while the Council acknowledges the natural, amenity and recreational and intrinsic values of the Hurunui River, it is confident the appropriate mechanisms are already in place to ensure these are properly protected.

“The rules, regulations and Plans that currently exist, including provisions within the District Plan and Natural Resources Regional Plan, are designed to ensure any proposed project is properly assessed within the terms of the Resource Management Act. “

He points to the vision and principles of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy as a significant additional mechanism available to evaluate appropriate strategies for water in the Hurunui District.

“The Strategy has been developed over a number of years in consultation with the public, taking into account a balanced mix of water uses and issues, and must, along with the zone committees established underneath, be afforded the freedom to do their work, unfettered.

“The approval of a Conservation Order on the Hurunui would not only effectively block democratic engagement and community based determinations, rendering totally wasted the efforts of many people and interest groups over many years, it would also render valueless the work of the recently established Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee which has been working towards a consensus position in relation to water storage options in the area.

Andrew Feierabend says the Council is also of the view an Order would significantly adversely affect the community and industry.

“Appropriate consented water storage and distribution is going to be key to the ongoing economic and social fabric not only of our district, but of the region and nation as a whole.

“A Conservation Order is simply not going to provide the reliable water supply critical to the needs of primary producers or sufficient opportunity for sustainable water use to enable the quality of life of the people and the communities to be enhanced in our district.”

The Hurunui District Council had already appealed the original application by New Zealand Fish and Game Council, North Canterbury Fish and Game Council and Whitewater New Zealand, to the Environment Court, prior to a recently imposed moratorium on consents.

If granted, the revised application would prohibit any damming of further takes or diversion of the waters in the Upper Hurunui and impose restrictions on the Lower Hurunui River.

The revised application will be heard by external hearing commissioners before recommendations are made to the Minister for the Environment.

Only organisations or people who have already submitted on the original Water Conservation Order can resubmit.

For further information contact:

Andrew Feierabend

Environmental Services Manager

Hurunui District Council

03 314 0013