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Plenty of time to comment on Waitaki applications

Plenty of time to comment on Waitaki applications

The community will have at least till the end of February to make submissions on notified Waitaki catchment applications, including eight Project Aqua consents, Environment Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

The 59 Waitaki water resource consent applications 'called in' last month, will be notified on December 6, but the submission period will not close before the end of February. The minister expects the councils will notify the associated resource consent applications and notices of requirement for the designations on the same day.

"There is some concern in the community that people won't have sufficient time to have their say on Waitaki catchment allocation issues and in particular Project Aqua," Marian Hobbs said. "Under the normal RMA process, 20 days are allowed for submissions, but that time can be extended."

Marian Hobbs said even though the application had been 'called in', this did not mean that the process could simply be stopped.

"Under the RMA, we have an obligation to follow due process for applicants. This does not change as a result of the call in," she said.

Marian Hobbs said it was important that the notification went ahead sooner rather than later so that the Statutory Body, which will develop the Water Allocation Framework, has a good understanding of all of the issues.

"The best way to develop the Water Allocation Framework is for the Statutory Body – and the community – to be fully informed about all of the prospective applications. That can only happen if the notification for the consents takes place in December," Marian Hobbs added.

Information will be made available to the community that clearly spells out the timeframe for all aspects of this process including the new legislation, the Water Allocation Framework and the Waitaki consents.

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