Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Government watching Ruataniwha nitrogen limits issue closely

Government watching Ruataniwha nitrogen limits issue closely

By Pattrick Smellie

May. 26 (BusinessDesk) - Prime Minister John Key says the government is not ready to intervene to reduce nitrogen levels set for rivers affected by the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, preferring to let the issue go to court first.

He was speaking at his post-Cabinet press conference following the release of a map produced by the state water and atmospheric science agency NIWA showing the ruling by the Board of Inquiry on the Hawke's Bay irrigation scheme on nitrogen levels in the Tukituki River could "devastate farming" if applied across New Zealand.

"All waterways in highly productive fertile plains of the country exceeded the limit," said Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis, who published a map that the lobby group says shows where the requirement for dissolved inorganic nitrogen levels in fresh waterways not to exceed 0.8 milligrams per litre would have an impact.

The map shows large swathes of existing Waikato, Taranaki, Canterbury, Otago and Southland dairying country are operating above that threshold at present.

The BOI was appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority to rule on the $265 million irrigation project, which was to have been supported by Trustpower, Ngai Tahu, the Crown Irrigation Fund that subsidises privately backed irrigation schemes, and local farmers and other agricultural producers who would use the stored water.

Irrigation NZ argues that at 0.8mg/l, the board has proposed a standard below a level normally regarded as indicating human influence that requires mitigation.

"European numbers are more like 2.5mg/l to 5mg/l and beyond," he said. While 0.8mg/l might be achievable over time, "the technology just hasn't been invented yet".

The board has until June 28 to issue its final decision, after which court challenges may be forthcoming.

"We’re in a delicate time because the BOI has made their decision," said Key. "Whether that means the dam is actually viable or not will depend on where this now goes.

"The reason I’m reluctant to make too many comments is I think it’s highly likely it will be challenged in the court."

Asked whether the government would intervene, Key replied: "We wouldn’t want to at this point. We would rather let it run its process before wading in to offer a point of view there.

"The current setting is going to be far less attractive than it was for some of the equity partners and quite challenging to get up to that standard."

Curtis said the proposed limit would have impacts not just on farmers in the Ruantaniwha catchment area, but potentially throughout the rural community.

"New Zealand has to decide what it wants," Curtis said.

The government has had no request for intervention from the dam's main backer, the Hawkes Bay Regional Council's investment company.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Outage: Power Mostly Restored Overnight

Vector wishes to advise that all but 324 customers have been restored overnight. These customers are spread throughout the network in small pockets. The main St Johns feeder was restored around midnight allowing most of the customers in all affected areas to have power this morning. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Dairy Prices Drop To Lowest Since August 2009

Dairy product prices fell to the lowest level in more than five years in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by declines in butter milk powder and whole milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news