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Mackenzie Basin Campaign For Water Continues

10 September 2004 News Release

Mackenzie Basin Campaign For Water Continues

The Mackenzie Basin community is today planning the next steps in its campaign to have the promised irrigation water returned to it.

Much of the debate during Parliament’s passing of the Resource Management (Waitaki Catchment) Amendment Bill focused on the Mackenzie Basin and the 1969 Order in Council which gave effect to the Government’s promise that the community would have access to water from the hydro canals for as long as the hydro development remained.

Mackenzie Basin Spokesman, Denis Fastier said the campaign to date had resulted in all Parties in Parliament agreeing that the debt of water owed to the community could not be ignored.

“We are very grateful to Members of Parliament who are working to try to put this issue right. In particular, Nick Smith, who has been working on this issue since it was before the Select Committee at the start of the year.

“It’s been that kind of support, coupled with the commitment and hard work of our community, that resulted in the Environment Minister, Marion Hobbs saying during her speech on the Bill yesterday that she will be writing to the Water Allocation Board to ensure that the injustices felt by those affected by the Order in Council are heard.

“This issue is deeply felt by the Mackenzie Basin and we have always known that this campaign would take time. Our work on the Bill was just one step along the way and the recognition and understanding of the debt of water owed has now laid the foundation for the water to be returned.

“We are prepared to work with the Water Allocation Board, and are confident that given the amount of momentum around this issue that there will be an agreement with this community that sees this water returned.

“The Mackenzie Basin has given much in the national interest to power this country. It would be totally unacceptable in New Zealand if this farming community were forced to watch its land literally blowing away because it can’t get water,” said Denis Fastier.


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