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Support for a balanced water allocation regime

10 April 2006

Business Council will move to build broad support for a balanced water allocation regime

One of New Zealand's major business organisations says it will lead a major research project aimed at building broadly based support for a new fresh water allocation regime.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development says it welcomes the Government's move today to launch work on developing a nationally consistent approach to managing the growing demand for water.

The council's Chief Executive, Peter Neilson, says: "The 'first come first served' gold rush approach to allocating water has run its time as an allocation system. It cannot cope with increasing demand which, in some areas, has led to over allocation.

"We welcome the Government's move to look for alternatives. Subject to confirmation of support from one or two more organisations, we will launch a project shortly to help build a consensus around an improved allocation regime."

Mr Neilson says that the project will allow business, major water users and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop a model on how water can be allocated to the highest-value use. At the same time the model needs to accommodate the needs of public interest and Maori, power generation, recreational users, agriculture, and tourism - and other business interests.

Following the government's announcement today, the proposed project will create an opportunity to provide a business view on a more market based allocation and use framework. It will map the transition pathway to achieve a sustainable water management regime and provide valuable external advice to Ministers and advisors.

"We need a new way. It needs to produce a process which balances the needs of water users with the whole community's needs.

"It's pleasing to see the Government is prepared to look at the transfer of water rights so the greatest value is secured from use of this precious resource."

ENDS


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