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North Bank Tunnel hearing panel to reconvene


Meridian’s Waitaki River North Bank Tunnel hearing panel to reconvene

The hearing commissioners for Meridian Energy’s water use applications for its proposed North Bank Tunnel hydro concept are to reconvene and hear more information.

The commissioners - Professor Peter Skelton, chair and former Environment Court judge, Mike Bowden, environmental consultant, and Dr Greg Ryder, freshwater scientist, – have issued a Minute which sets out the four issues for which they require further information. They are:

- The need for energy in New Zealand and the place of hydro in fulfilling that need;
- The commitment made by Meridian Energy Ltd to provide additional water for downstream users between the Waitaki Dam and Black Point;
- The problem with the invasive algae didymo;
- Proposed river enhancement work.

The latest Minute notes that substantial progress has been made towards finalising the water applications’ decision but the May target would not now be met. It was unlikely that a decision would be finalised before the end of August.

The reconvened hearing dates are August 5-7 in Christchurch.


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