Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Forest & Bird asks if public money is going to illegal dam

Forest & Bird asks whether public money is being spent on illegal dam proposal

Forest & Bird is seeking an assurance that no public money will be spent considering illegal options to flood specially protected conservation land.

The irrigation lobby group Manuherikia WaterCo is investigating proposals to raise the height of Falls Dam in Otago.

“It would be wrong for the Manuherikia WaterCo to spend any of the $800,000 taxpayer subsidy from the Crown Irrigation Investment fund on a new dam scenario that would involve flooding of the Oteake Conservation Park,” says Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate Annabeth Cohen.

“The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Ruataniwha Dam in Hawkes Bay could not flood specially protected conservation land in the Ruahine Forest Park. This ruling would also apply to proposals to flood parts of the Oteake Conservation Park behind Falls Dam.”

“Forest & Bird want to be sure that the options being considered using public money are all legal.”

Any increase in the height of Falls Dam and in the amount of irrigation in the catchment is likely to have a significant environmental impact.

“Even a so-called ‘low’ dam option is likely to flood breeding habitat of threatened black-billed gulls and possibly the breeding area of nationally endangered black-fronted tern.”

Both birds are on the Government’s top 100 list of threatened species that need special attention for protection and recovery.

There are also several endangered indigenous plant species that could be impacted by increasing the height of the dam, such as Waitaki broom, also on the Government’s top 100 threatened species list.

Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group chairperson Allan Kane, has also suggested that the Otago Regional Council (ORC) should bend to pressure from farmers in the Manuherikia when setting minimum flows in the river.

“The law requires that minimum flows are set to maintain the ecological health of the river, they are not meant to represent whatever might be left over after farmers have taken what they want.”

“We hope that ORC will honour its mandate, which is to maintain the water quality and ecological health of all freshwater bodies in Otago in an unbiased way,” says Ms Cohen.

Increased irrigation almost always leads to agricultural intensification which leads to increased pollution of fresh water.

"This is another reason to make sure that the minimum flows are set at the right levels to maintain and improve the ecological health of the Manuherikia River in the face of increased farming pressure," said Ms Cohen.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election