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Tukituki decision stands, a win for water quality

June 27, 2014

Tukituki decision stands, a win for water quality

Fish & Game NZ says despite facing substantial political and lobby group pressure, the EPA Board of Inquiry (BOI) appears to have confirmed its draft decision on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal, however, there have been some minor technical changes.

Importantly, the final decision upholds the principals of duel nutrient management to protect ecosystem health, says Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson.

“This has significant implications for the Government’s widely criticised National Objectives Framework required to protect ecosystem health and the proposed changes to the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management.

“Overall this remains a significant victory for freshwater quality and hopefully the start of a paradigm shift that will set the agriculture sector firmly onto an environmental sustainability pathway.”

Although Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme has been granted consent to proceed, Mr Johnson says the final decision confirms real doubt over a project which was a tenuous financial proposition from the outset.

“These 1980s style ‘Think Big’ irrigation infrastructure developments that lead to toxic rivers and poisonous drinking water aren’t the economic panacea for regional New Zealand that they are touted as being.

“Clearly the BOI was convinced by the scientific facts and evidence, and the economic facts and evidence, that this was the case with the Ruatainwha proposal.”

Mr Johnson says a strength of the draft BOI decision was that it sensibly linked the dam consent with environmental bottom lines for the intended land-use intensification.

“We still need to check the detail of the final decision on this point.”

ENDS

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